Wayne Rooney will not return to the Manchester United first team for another two weeks, according to manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
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Rooney has been sidelined since picking up a slight knee injury during training on Christmas Day, but it had been hoped he would return in time for the weekend's FA Cup third-round tie against West Ham United.
However, Ferguson confirmed that the England international will need a little longer to recover fully - saying he will also be unavailable for next week's Premier League match against Liverpool.
"It's not serious but it's going to take longer than we thought," Ferguson said on Friday. "It's probably going to be another two weeks. He won't be fit for Liverpool.
"It's a surprise as he was meant to be back training now. So he'll be out for longer than we thought."
Ferguson admitted delaying Rooney's return was primarily a precautionary measure - with the player complaining of some ongoing discomfort despite scans showing no obvious damage.
"The injury is nothing serious," Ferguson noted. "He just got clipped behind his knee. Nothing shows in the scan but he's still feeling it. Hopefully in two weeks it'll be sorted but nonetheless it's a loss."
There was some better news for United elsewhere, however, with Ferguson confirming that Nani was due to resume full training on Friday after his own spell on the sidelines.