Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney has been rated 50/50 for next weekend's Manchester derby after resuming light training following a head injury sustained just before the international break.
The 27-year-old-returned to gym work on Monday, less than two weeks after a training ground clash with Phil Jones left him nursing a horrific gash to his head.
According to the Daily Mail, Rooney took part in a light gym session away from the first team squad at United's AON Training complex.
Although the return is earlier than anticipated, medical staff are said to have rated him as touch-and-go for the game against title rivals Manchester City on September 22.
He is almost certain to miss his side's forthcoming games against Crystal Palace on Saturday and Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League next week.
While Rooney has the physical capacity to take part in intense training, the deep stitching that was required to tend to his three inch wound is considered too delicate for any exposure to contact training in the next few days.
United know that any accident would prolong his spell on the sidelines, which has already ruled him out of two England World Cup qualifiers and United's defeat against Liverpool.
Roy Hodgson was forced to go without the services of his forward talisman for the clash with Moldova and then Ukraine last Tuesday night.
Having withdrawn from the England squad, Rooney posted a picture of his head injury on Facebook in response to criticism over his commitment to the England cause.
In addition to the picture he commented: "Some people seem to be questioning my commitment and the fact I had to pull out of the two games.
"I'm sure people will see the reason why I won't be able to play. There's nothing I would like more than to be helping the lads in the qualifiers."
Rooney's absence for at least the next two games is a blow to United manager David Moyes, who has seen his new side drop points to Chelsea and Liverpool in their last two Premier League outings.
Moyes will however be able to call upon the services of deadline-day signing Marouane Fellani, who could ask to fill in for Rooney just behind the striker against Crystal Palace.
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