UPDATE: Monday, Feb. 25, at 7:38 a.m. ET by Brandon Galvin
Manchester United have been given a huge boost ahead of next week’s Champions League clash with Real Madrid with the news that Robin Van Persie will be fit to take his place in the starting line-up...
...However, any concern that Van Persie would be ruled out of the delicately-poised encounter with Jose Mourinho’s men a week on Tuesday have now been calmed with confirmation that the injury is limited to bruising.
The Dutchman will have a couple of days off training this week but could even feature in United’s Premier League clash with Norwich on Saturday.
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UPDATE: Saturday, Feb. 23 at 1:20 p.m. ET by Tim Daniels
Sky Sports passed along comments from Sir Alex Ferguson about the status of Van Persie. The injury occurred when he ran into a sideline camera, but the United manager is confident his top scorer will be fully fit in time for the Real Madrid clash.
"He collided into a camera which was dug out of a piece of ground, he collided into the base of it and that's given him a sore hip," Ferguson told Sky Sports.
"I imagine it will be tender and sore for a few days, but hopefully he'll be alright, particularly for the Real game."
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It wasn't immediately clear what forced Van Persie to leave the pitch before halftime. He appeared to be dealing with some type of hip or back issue, but Fox Soccer reports it was likely a precautionary move rather than a serious problem:
For Manchester United fans who aren't watching, not sure there's much reason to panic about RVP. Substitute looked precautionary. #BPLonFOX— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) February 23, 2013
Cue the jokes about Van Persie being forced to carry the Red Devils' offense on his shoulders all season and suffering an injury because of it.
Luckily for United, it doesn't sound like the league leader in goals is seriously hurt. Sir Alex Ferguson probably just decided it was better to ensure his star striker didn't risk further injury with a rematch with Real Madrid on the horizon. United have a safe lead in the Premier League and were leading 1-0 when Van Persie was subbed out.
Danny Welbeck replaced him in the lineup and would likely see an uptick in playing time should the Netherlands international miss any matches. Assuming the early talk of it being a precautionary move is correct, it won't reach that point.
Van Persie has been a crucial piece of the United attack from the moment he arrived at Old Trafford. The club can't afford to lose him for an extended period down the stretch, so it's definitely better to be safe than sorry in a situation like this.
More should be known about his condition after the match or in the coming days.