Manchester United central defender Rio Ferndinand will miss six more weeks recovering from the knee injury that kept him out of the World Cup.
"Michael Owen is doing some terrific work, but is a bit behind Gary [Neville] and Antonio [Valencia] and I don’t think he’ll be ready for the start of the season. Rio is probably around six weeks away from playing."
The England international suffered the injury June 4 while in South Africa, training for the World Cup. The original, estimated recovery time has been extended into September, meaning the first choice defender will miss the opening to United's English Premier League season.
The injury now makes the England captain a doubt for the Three Lions' first Euro 2010 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Switzerland. Those matches are scheduled for the first week of September.
While it was originally hoped Ferdinand would be healthy to start United's season, the defender is now set to miss the August 16 opener with Newcastle United as well as subsequent matches against Fulham and West Ham United.