England defender Rio Ferdinand could hand Manchester United a boost ahead of their treble tilt by returning from injury for United's crunch Champions League quarter-final second leg with Chelsea.

The 32-year-old was expected to be out for the remainder of the season with calf injury he suffered during United's match Aston Villa in February.

But Ferdinand is in Germany to see specialist Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt, who has dealt with some of the world's leading sportsman, including 100m world record holder Usain Bolt and Liverpool's Steven Gerrard, and hopes to fully recover from the injury in time to contribute to the rest of the club's season.

On the injury, Ferguson said earlier this month: "It's just not responding. Sometimes [calf] injuries can be troublesome. We experienced this with Bryan Robson in 1990. He was out for four months with a calf injury. Rio has been out for six weeks now; it's going on two months.

"We are not looking short term. He's hardly training yet and it looks to me like we'll be lucky to get him back fit for some part of the season."

 

If Ferdinand responds positively to treatment he could be fit in time for United's Champions League quarter-final second leg against Chelsea at Old Trafford on April 12th, and the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City at Wembley later that week.

Ferdinand's return would co-inside with a defensive crises at Old Trafford.

Rafael, John O'Shea and Nemenja Vidic are all missing through injury, while Jonny Evans is starting a three-match suspension after his red card against Bolton Wanderers, leaving United with just four recognised defenders, a situation similar to last season's problems, where midfielders Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick had to fill in in the back-four.

Although neither midfielder have been called upon yet, Sir Alex Ferguson's craving for Ferdinand's return couldn't be greater, with the Scot keen for a repeat of the treble the club achieved in 1999.

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