Manchester United defender Rafael has confirmed he'll make a miraculous return to training at Carrington on Friday, despite undergoing surgery to repair a fractured cheekbone just last night.
Rafael needed an operation to fix his cheekbone suffering the nasty injury in last weekend's FA Cup tie against Yeovil Town, withdrawn at half-time in yet another unfortunate injury blow for both United and the Brazilian full-back.
The 24-year-old will be back far sooner than expected though, with quick treatment proving a success and allowing him to be considered for a return to first-team action with the aid of a protective mask.
Instagram post gives United fans a huge boost
United will likely have to rush Rafael straight back into the starting XI for Sunday's Premier League showdown with high-flying Southampton, because the wing-back's Van Gaal needs to play his preferred 3-5-2 system are currently in very short supply.
Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young are both sidelined with groin and hamstring injuries respectively, while Luke Shaw also picked up a knock against Yeovil and is a doubt to face his former club this weekend.
Injury crisis has dogged Van Gaal's first season
United have arguably never seen an injury crisis on the scale Van Gaal has dealt with in his first season in charge at Old Trafford, with Rafael's three absences at various stages of the campaign forming a quite monumental list of 55 problems to strike down first-team stars.
Van Gaal was very quick to praise Rafael's contribution after the Yeovil win, hailing the wing-back as having a "fantastic mentality" after he played through the pain barrier for part of that clash.
The Dutchman will likely need his new favourite star to do the same against Saints, as United go in search of three points to further cement their place in the Champions League places against a side who caused them all kinds of problems just three weeks ago.
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