Ferdinand played in the Community Shield earlier this month and also completed 90 minutes for England in their friendly against Holland.
He then suffered a slight tear in his thigh during training last week ahead of the Premier League opener against Birmingham.
Sir Alex Ferguson initially thought that he would only be without Ferdinand for a couple of weeks but that estimate has now been revised.
"Rio is going to be out for three to four weeks," said the United boss.
Ferdinand is therefore set to miss United's next three Premier League games as well as two England fixtures early next month
He could also be doubtful for the Manchester derby at Old Trafford on 20th September.
VidicThere is some good news on the injury front for United though as Ferdinand's central defensive partner Nemanja Vidic is set to make his first start of the season against Wigan on Saturday, while Gary Neville is also in contention.
"Nemanja has trained with us for 10 days and he is ready for the game," said
"Hopefully he will be okay by tomorrow so that is a positive piece of news.
"Gary Neville also played for 15 or 20 minutes on Wednesday night and he could be ready too so that gives us a bit of experience."