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The 33-year-old centre-back has suffered a leg muscle injury in training and joins fellow defenders Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones on the treatment table

By Greg Stobart

Manchester United's defensive crisis is set to deepen with the news that Rio Ferdinand could be absent for up to two months after he suffered an injury in training this week.

The 33-year-old pulled up with a leg muscle complaint at the club's Carrington training ground and will now undergo scans to assess the extent of the problem.

Ferdinand will miss the Red Devils' opening Premier League fixture, a trip to Goodison Park to face Everton on Monday.

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United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is now facing up to a severe shortage of centre-backs, with Phil Jones currently nursing a back injury.

Chris Smalling is also still out after breaking his metatarsal towards the end of last season, while Jonny Evans is recovering from knee surgery.

Sir Alex will be forced to reshuffle his back line to include Antonio Valencia at right-back instead of his customary position on the wing, while Michael Carrick could be forced to partner the returning Nemanja Vidic in the heart of the defence.

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