Rio Ferdinand will not play for Manchester United again this year.
The England centre-back has been told he needs another six weeks of rest and physio work before his back will be strong enough for Premier League football.
Ferdinand, 31, had been playing with back problems since last season – leading to a calf injury this term.
After a series of poor displays he decided to get the problem sorted out for good.
Rio had hoped to be back by the start of December. But by the time he plays again, he will have missed at least 15 matches.
United’s medical staff have been baffled by his constant injury problems.
One theory being looked into now is that he might need his hip realigned.
If the hip is slightly out it will lead to strain on other parts of the body, including his back.
Ferdinand’s last game for United came in the 2-0 defeat at Liverpool on October 25 when he was out-run and out-muscled by Fernando Torres for the opening goal. (The Sun)
Sir Alex Ferguson must be wondering if he will ever get to select his first choice central defensive pairing again.
Ferdinand’s injuries have become a major source of irritation for the Manchester United and the fact that their medical staff have not satisfactorily diagnosed the problem must be an issue of real concern. It has to be said that the partnership of Wes Brown and Jonny Evans performed admirably at Stamford Bridge a couple of weeks ago despite coming out on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline but there is no question that the combination of Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic is one of the most secure in Europe.
England fans will also be concerned about a key player having injury problems in World Cup year. Rio may have made a few uncharacteristic errors of late while representing the national team but he continues to instil more confidence than either Matthew Upson or Joleon Lescott however dependable those two might be.