A thrilling win on Wednesday over Newcastle may have extended Manchester United's lead in the table, but there is news off the pitch that may deal the Red Devils a crippling blow to their Premier League hopes.
Manchester United confirm striker Wayne Rooney has been ruled out for two to three weeks with a knee ligament injury. #SSN— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) December 26, 2012
The 27-year-old striker was noticeably absent from the pitch on Wednesday, and manager Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed the injury. According to the Daily Mail's Rik Sharma, Ferguson said that Rooney went down during training: "It was a volley towards the end of training. He did a ligament at the back of his knee and could be out for two to three weeks."
It pretty much goes without saying that Rooney's loss will be felt instantly by Manchester United. Roundly considered one of the best strikers in the world, Rooney had seven goals and seven assists this season for Ferguson's squad.
Though this definitely hasn't been his finest season at Old Trafford, Rooney and Robin van Persie still formed a duo to be reckoned with in every match. Without Rooney in the lineup, the opposing defenses will be able to shift their efforts over to van Persie, which will undoubtedly harm the United attack.
Rooney also joins an increasingly long list of United players on the injured list. Danny Welbeck, Ashley Young and Phil Jones all missed Wednesday's match, and Rooney's absence will leave the Red Devils even more shorthanded.
Without Rooney in the lineup, it's likely that Ferguson will rely heavily on Javier Hernandez to pick up the slack. It's not an ideal scenario, but with a seven-point lead in the table, Rooney's injury didn't come at the worst time in the world.
Nevertheless, the Red Devils will be counting down the days until their star striker returns. Be sure to check back in as we give you the latest information on Rooney's injury and potential return date.