Owen Hargreaves could be back sooner than the four-week prognosis initially prescribed for the tendonitis problem that has plagued the start to his United career.
The 26-year-old, who had an injection in his knee earlier this week to solve the problem, could be back in training in ten days, potentially reducing his spell out on the sidelines.
“It may be a bit less than [four weeks],” Sir Alex Ferguson said in an exclusive interview with Manchester United Radio ahead of Saturday’s clash with Wigan.
“Owen should be back training in about ten days’ time, which is good news because he hasn’t had the best of luck. But, having the injection has been successful.”
Although Sir Alex will be keen not to rush the midfielder back, reducing his time on the sidelines could put the midfielder in contention for the league match against Middlesbrough on 27 October, a week before United take on Arsenal on 3 November.
That will come as a welcome relief to the United boss, who also midfield playmaker Michael Carrick ruled out for six weeks with a fractured elbow following an awkward fall during the 1-0 win over AS Roma at Old Trafford.
“It was a bad blow losing Michael Carrick,” the boss said. “I went to shake his hand at the end of the game and he couldn’t lift his arm. I knew he was in pain, so we sent him for an x-ray and it confirmed it was a broken arm.
“It’s a blow especially as his last three performances have been spot on. That was the Michael Carrick of last season. I thought he had a slow start to the campaign, but he was gathering momentum again. He was superb against Chelsea, Birmingham and Roma.
“Fortunately, I’ve still got options,” added Sir Alex. “I can bring Ryan Giggs into midfield, or young Anderson, and John O’Shea can also play there. I’m not too bad, but nonetheless it’s a blow."
Listen to the full interview on 1413 AM with Manchester United Radio's build-up to Saturday's 12:45 BST kick-off against Wigan.