Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed he expects Rio Ferdinand to be back in action by the end of September.
Ferdinand suffered medial ligament damage on the first day of World Cup training in South Africa following a freak accident involving Emile Heskey.
There were initial suggestions from Manchester United that the 31-year-old would be back for the new season.
However, United pushed that deadline back and Ferguson confirmed the England skipper remains on schedule.
"We are still thinking the end of September for Rio," said the United boss.
"It was a medial ligament problem rather than a cruciate, so the recovery time is exactly what we thought.
"It was a freak. It is nothing to do with his back. We just had to treat it the proper way. These things are never easy."
It seems midfielder Anderson is much nearer a comeback after returning to training yesterday.
The 22-year-old did suffer a cruciate ligament injury in February that ended his season and wrecked his hopes of appearing at the World Cup for Brazil.
However, while a comeback for Sunday's trip to Fulham is out of the question, the former Porto man may be in contention for a first-team spot immediately after the next international break.Reuse content