United relief as Rooney gets away with suspected sprain

MANCHESTER United defender Nemanja Vidic insists the club’s challenge for silverware will not be stymied by Wayne Rooney’s suspected sprained ankle.

Rooney is expected to be out for three to four weeks after limping off during United’s Champions League defeat at Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

In that time the striker, who has scored 34 goals already this season, is likely to miss crucial fixtures in Europe and the Premier League, including Saturday’s visit from Chelsea.

But Vidic said: “We showed this season we play as a team. It is not just about one man. Definitely Wayne Rooney has had a great season. He is unbelievable, one of the best in the world. But sometimes big players are missing, and others need to be ready.”

Rooney’s injury sparked fears England could be without their most potent weapon at this summer’s World Cup, which gets underway in little more than two months.

He underwent a scan last night after flying back from Germany with United medics and security earlier in the day.

It is thought the 24-year-old has suffered a sprain to his right ankle, but tests will confirm the extent of the damage and whether there are any complications. United manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s verdict after the quarter-final first leg match was that the injury was “not terribly serious”.

A four-week absence could see Rooney miss seven games: following Chelsea they face Bayern Munich, Blackburn, Manchester City and then, sandwiched in between a potential European semi-final, Tottenham.

Looking at video footage of the incident, it seemed like a fairly innocuous injury, so assuming he has a mild-to-moderate ankle sprain, I would expect Wayne to return in a few weeks.

If it is a mild ankle sprain, it should only be a couple of weeks before he can train again. I would be very surprised if he was out for more than four weeks, so he should be fine for the World Cup.

The worst-case scenario, based on what we know, would be a severe ankle sprain, which would prevent him from training for four weeks.

There is always the chance that there could be another, as-yet-undetected injury, and that is why he has to have a scan. Based on the footage, however, I’d be very surprised if it was anything more sinister than a sprain.

Ankle sprains are among the most common injuries suffered by sportsmen, and are also one of the easiest to manage.

Treatment involves ice, compression, anti-inflammatory medication, strengthening exercises and then a graded return to football. He may well be able to do simple ankle and foot exercises after three days.

People with this type of injury usually make a complete recovery. There is always a risk of suffering a recurrence, but there are ways of preventing it, such as doing strengthening exercises and wearing tape to support the ankle when playing.

Dr Lorenzo Masci is a sports physician at Pure Sports Medicine’s clinic in Kensington. For more information call 08447 700800