The Argentine dislocated a shoulder in the Manchester derby and his extended absence plunges Louis van Gaal back into the same defensive personnel crisis which has haunted him since he became United manager. The 24-year-old tweeted a message to his supporters after the match which was ambiguous about the extent of his injury. It translated as: “Thanks to all for the messages. Thanks to God it as just a bad moment.”
Van Gaal is likely to be without Phil Jones for Saturday’s match against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford, and the prospects of Jonny Evans having recovered from the ankle injury he picked up against Leicester City are also slim.
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Jones’ shin splints injury which Van Gaal outlined the details of after United’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea is not thought to be as serious as had initially been suspected. But the absence of Jones and Rojo means that the back four for Saturday will be makeshift at best. It is likely that Michael Carrick – whose emergency defensive role after Rojo departed was his first appearance of the season after his own return from injury – will need to be pressed into action as a centre half again. Young Paddy McNair may partner him against Neil Warnock’s side. Chris Smalling is suspended after his rush of blood led to his dismissal but Van Gaal’s lack of personnel suggests that Smalling may gain an early reprieve.
Manchester United injury list
Manchester United injury list
1/5 Wayne Rooney
There is uncertainty over the extent of the Manchester United captain's injury, with fears he may have suffered ligament damage to his knee during the 3-0 defeat to Everton. Unlikely to feature against West Brom and could miss the rest of the season.
2/5 Michael Carrick
Having limped off in the 4-2 derby victory over Manchester City, it's uncertain if the England midfielder will fit for this weekend. Was unable to even make the bench for the defeat to Everton.
The right-back's return to action has suffered a set-back. After making a short appearance in the 3-0 win over Tottenham in March, the Brazilian has been pushing for full fitness. However he suffered a blow to the ribs in an Under-21 match against Leicester and could miss the rest of the season.
4/5 Marcos Rojo
Having missed the games against Chelsea and Everton due to a groin injury, the Argentina international is pushing for a return and could feature this weekend.
5/5 Phil Jones
Fellow defender Phil Jones also missed the defeats to Chelsea and Evertton but the England international has returned to training after a foot complaint and could play at against West Brom.
Van Gaal will feel Rojo’s long-term injury to be a grievous blow. Though the defender had a tortured Manchester derby against the speed and strength of Sergio Aguero, he had begun to offer some of the leadership that United have needed in central defence, following his £16m arrival from Sporting Lisbon. Van Gaal said that he was not the finished article when he arrived at the club but has felt that he is developing.
Shoulder injuries of the kind that Rojo sustained when launching into a wild challenge on Michael Demichelis can require a long recovery time. After Rafael da Silva suffered a similar injury, he needed 15 weeks to return to the first time. The six-week possibility seems optimistic.Reuse content