Nani ruled out until April following Jamie Carragher tackle

Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed star winger Nani will not return to action until after this month's international break.

The Manchester United star was forced out of his side's 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday after sustaining a deep gash in a first-half tackle by Jamie Carragher.

Many observers felt the challenge warranted a straight red card rather than the yellow Carragher received and the player made a personal apology to Nani after the game.

As Ferguson did not speak post match, this morning was the first opportunity to get a public verdict on the injury and the United boss is reasonably happy with the treatment, even though Nani will not be fit for tomorrow's FA Cup quarter-final with Arsenal, Tuesday's Champions League clash against Marseille or next Saturday's Premier League meeting with Bolton.

"We have managed to stitch the injury, which is good news," said Ferguson.

"We need to guard against infection and swelling.

"It is difficult to say exactly when he will be ready to return but we won't get him back for the Bolton match next Saturday."

Ferguson also confirmed neither Rio Ferdinand nor Park Ji-sung, whose recoveries from calf and hamstring injuries respectively are taking longer than anticipated, are set for a comeback this weekend.

Antonio Valencia's return is also on hold, although the Ecuador star did feature in a closed-doors game earlier this week and Ferguson does not feel it will be long before he is plunged back into the fray.

"Antonio is difficult to assess because he has been out for such a long time," said Ferguson.

"He has been training very well and is taking part in a few practice matches between the players.

"It is deciding when we can put him into the cut and thrust of a game. There is a question mark over the timing but at some point, we are going to have to try it.

"It won't be tomorrow. Hopefully it will be quite soon."

It means Ferguson could have up to 10 senior players missing tomorrow, although skipper Nemanja Vidic is back from suspension and the United boss has vowed to play his strongest team.

"A quarter-final tie against Arsenal is always an exciting game," he said.

"It is an opportunity to get to the semi-final, so we will be doing our best and we will play our best available team."



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