Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is hopeful that central defender Rio Ferdinand will return to action in the near future after having been sidelined for two months.
The 30-year-old has not featured for the Red Devils since the 2-0 defeat at Liverpool in late October, having been troubled by a long-standing back problem.
Ferguson confirmed: "We gave Rio an injection just over two weeks ago so we have to let that settle for a week then he can go back into the gym work and do some more core work.
"We are just hoping that pain goes away.
"There is no light at the end of the tunnel and it is difficult to put a timescale on a back injury, but I don't think he is too far away.
"Rio is quite a composed and laid-back lad. He has never shown any effect of the injury from a mental standpoint.
"But I have no doubt he will be feeling it because he is a footballer and footballers want to play.
"He will be thinking about all sorts. The run-in to the league and important games coming up and he is missing them. It is not easy for him."