Harry Maguire’s hip injury is not as bad as feared and Manchester United’s £80million defender even has an outside chance of making a surprise comeback against Norwich on Saturday.
However, Sportsmail understands the tear is only a small one, and it is likely to be a matter of days rather than weeks before Maguire is fit to play again.
Manchester United defender Harry Maguire’s hip injury is believed to not be as bad as feared
The 26-year-old defender was able to train on grass at Carrington on Thursday and so could even be in contention to face Norwich at Old Trafford, though that still seems unlikely.
The nature of the injury around an awkward area like the hip means that United are reluctant to push Maguire too hard in case he aggravates the problem and is ruled out for much longer.
However, the England player has a high pain threshold and is prepared to risk himself for a United team badly in need of a win after Tuesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final defeat at home to Manchester City.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may even be able to recall Maguire for United’s clash with Norwich
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke about Maguire’s injury after that game, saying: ‘It’s not going to be a long, long, long-term one. I don’t think he will ready for the weekend, but let’s see.’
Solskjaer is expected to provide an update on the Maguire injury at his weekly press conference.
He is sure to be hugely relieved that Maguire’s injury is not worse, after seeing his team’s defence torn apart by City in midweek, conceding three first-half goals on the way to the 3-1 defeat. In the absence of Maguire, Phil Jones was brought in to partner Victor Lindelof in central defence.
Phil Jones is on standby to play again on Saturday with other defenders nearing full fitness
Maguire was just one United defender missing through injury, as other absentees included Eric Bailly, Marcos Rojo, Axel Tuanzebe and Timothy Fosu-Mensah.
Jones is on standby to play again on Saturday. Rojo has returned from Argentina and could be available soon, while Solskjaer has said that Tuanzebe and Bailly are closer to full fitness.
One defender not on call, though, is Chris Smalling, who has impressed during his first four months on loan to Roma. He cannot return to Old Trafford until the end of the season as United did not include a recall clause.