Manchester United are expected to discover on Thursday the extent of the damage suffered by Wayne Rooney and the likely recuperation period for the England striker following a badly sprained ankle sustained against Bayern Munich.
Rooney turned over on his right ankle in the dying seconds of United's 2-1 defeat in Munich on Tuesday night and returned to England on crutches on Wednesday, sparking fears over the striker's possible participation in the remainder of United's season and indeed the World Cup finals.
Initial reports suggested Rooney was facing between two and four weeks on the sidelines, immediately ruling him out of the weekend's critical Premier League game against Chelsea and the second leg against Bayern Munich at Old Trafford, ESPNsoccernet reports.
It was Rooney, with a header in the final, who secured United its only trophy so far this season, the Carling Cup. But Ferguson probably wouldn't keep his toothbrush in that shiny memento. It is not a competition he cares about passionately like the lucrative Champions and Premier Leagues, for which he needs Rooney to win.
A consolation for Ferguson is that United rarely plays as poorly as it did in Munich. The team lacked the competitive hunger that is a trademark of his sides. It was bullied and sloppy in midfield and defence and would have suffered a much heavier loss had Bayern done better at putting good chances into the net, The Canadian Press says.
When General Wesley Clark spoke about the famous list of seven Middle Eastern countries to be demolished in five consecutive years, he has done nothing but remark, for the last time, if there was any need, Washington's willingness to redesign the Middle East within a more general framework of global domination.