The 31-year-old was criticised for attending a London event in connection with the Dead Man Running movie just hours after returning from Champions League duty in Moscow last week.
And, after being found wanting against Fernando Torres as Liverpool beat United 2-0 at Anfield last Sunday, Ferdinand subsequently decided not to attend another screening this time in Manchester two days ago.
Second best: Ferdinand is left trailing as Torres scores for Liverpool last Sunday
Last night, Ferdinand's representatives confirmed he had withdrawn because the event came just 48 hours before this evening's game against Blackburn at Old Trafford.
Ferdinand was said by his manager Sir Alex Ferguson last night to be nursing a calf injury but he is still expected to play today.
Ferguson, meanwhile, refused to discuss Ferdinand's loss of form, choosing instead to accuse the media of 'humiliating' his player.
On the warpath: Fergie
When questioned about the player, the United manager said 'I'm not getting into that because I read the stuff in the newspapers and I hear he's going to be dropped and all the rest, and I don't know if any of you have got into my mind, any of you.
'You know, you can try to pick my teams but you'll never pick my team. You can try as long as you like, so I don't know where it's coming from.
'I just have to put it down to the modern culture of humiliating people, which you do very well, and sensationalise, and all the rest of it, but I don't know where you get it from.'
Despite Ferguson's irritation, Ferdinand said himself after last week's Champions League win in Moscow that he needs 10 games to get back into his stride after an injury lay-off.
When this was put to Ferguson, he said: 'Well, why would I drop him then?'
Nevertheless, the manager did suggest that Ferdinand is struggling with a calf problem, as is his partner Nemanja Vidic.
Ferdinand trained lightly yesterday, however, and it is thought that his problem whatever the extent of it is not severe enough to preclude him from playing today.
Ferguson said: 'Neither of the central defenders has trained since the Liverpool game. Vidic has a little problem with his calf. We have sent him to a specialist and hopefully we can correct that but he has been struggling a little bit with it.
'With both of them it's calf injuries but we'll see how they are tomorrow.' Ironically, a day after Sportsmail revealed that Tottenham were keeping a watchful eye on the Ferdinand situation, their manager Harry Redknapp said he was the best centre back in the world and hit back at those who have criticised the player's high-profile recent blunders.
Redknapp gave Ferdinand his first-team debut for West Ham in May 1996 and he added:'I speak to him, I send him messages, I can't think of a better centre half in the world.
'Everybody has a blip. Tony Adams was a great centre back. He made a mistake and suddenly he was a donkey or whatever. We go overboard about a mistake. Rio's human.'
Calm down: Redknapp has leapt to Ferdinand's defence
Meanwhile, Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce has advised Roberto Martinez to keep his mouth shut in future following reports that the Wigan manager suggested some of his top-flight colleagues were little more than Fergie loyalists.
Allardyce confirmed Martinez had phoned him to apologise and said: 'I accept what he said when he rang me. Welcome to the Premier League, Roberto. Keep your mouth shut in the future.'
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