Wayne Rooney injured: How bad is it, and what it means for Manchester United

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We hinted at it in our Offshore Drilling, but the Wayne Rooney injury deserves a little more attention.

The how, in case you missed it: Rooney was running toward Hugo Rodellega late in Saturday’s match, trying to close down the Fulham attacker to prevent a 26-yard shot on goal. Late arriving, Rooney slid under the shot, and as Rodallega’s right foot came back down, he stepped on the inside of Rooney’s right thigh (just above the knee).

Quickly, blood started streaming down Rooney’s leg, a spike from Rodallega’s shoe creating a deep gash you could see trainers applying pressure to close. Eventually Rooney’s thigh was wrapped and the United attacker stretchered from the field.

Two seasons back, United fans witnessed a similar though more malicious incident. Then, Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher went studs up into Manchester United winger Nani, the tackle creating a long cut in the attacker’s shin. Nani, cut open on March 4, 2011, returned to face Marseille in Champions League on March 15.

Early word on Rooney is that he could miss four weeks. Obviously, we’re not doctors, but we can look back at the speculation surrounding Nani’s injury and see initial estimates exaggerated the time he’d miss. Instead of missing three games, Nani only missed one, though it’s understandable why people would exaggerate. With something as graphic as one of these cuts, it’s natural to think the worse.

But let’s go ahead and assume Rooney does miss 28 days. It’s not the worst time to do so. Manchester United has upcoming league matches with Southampton, Wigan and Liverpool, and while nobody ever wants to miss a North West Derby, at least he’s not missing a Manchester Derby. Or Chelsea. Or Arsenal.

He’ll also miss an international break in September: World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and (more importantly) Ukraine. At Euro 2012, Ukraine was the only Group D nation England didn’t play without a suspended Wayne Rooney.

Perhaps more important than who United (and England) play is who Rooney would have been playing with. As we saw on Monday, Rooney has needs time to get used to Shinji Kagawa and Robin van Persie. Today, with Rooney on the bench, United looked much better than they did on against Everton (though the circumstances and opponent were much different). Even though the Red Devils’ looked strong on Saturday, they won’t be at their best until all their attacking talent is used to each other. Now, the process of getting there is on hold for a month.

But that’s if Rooney really is out for that long. Right now, all we have to go on is a quote from Alex Ferguson, who presumably talked to Manchester United’s medical staff. Given the nature of the injury, we’re likely to know much more at this time next week.

Sir Alex’s son in trouble for saying he’d “shoot” refs

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LONDON (AP) It clearly runs in the family.

Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson was known for having an explosive temper during his nearly 27 years at Old Trafford, and it seems he has passed it down to his son.

Darren Ferguson, who is the manager of third-tier English team Doncaster, is in trouble for saying he would “shoot” referees because of what he perceived as their poor standards.

Ferguson was charged by the English Football Association on Wednesday for remarks that “were improper and/or brought the game into disrepute.”

The 45-year-old coach has already apologized, saying it was a “tongue-in-cheek comment” and that “I do not advocate violence against officials.”

Ferguson was unhappy his team was denied a penalty in a 1-1 draw with Plymouth on Saturday.

“The referees are part-time and the standard is appalling, their fitness levels are a disgrace, I’ve had enough of it,” Ferguson said after the match.

“What can I do? Shoot them, it would be a good idea.”

Follow Live: Chelsea, Swans, Cherries in FA Cup replays

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Chelsea, Swansea City, and Bournemouth look to avoid upsets in replays of their third round FA Cup matches.

[ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup scores here ]

All three matches kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET

The Blues tangle with former Premier League peers Norwich City, this time at Stamford Bridge, in a bid to host a fourth round match with Newcastle United.

Antonio Conte‘s not messing around (too much) with the XI.

Swansea City and Wolves, meanwhile, are arguably battling for a bid in the fourth round, as a trip to Notts County is on the docket for the winner of Wednesday’s replay at the Liberty Stadium.

Bournemouth is at Wigan Athletic for a replay with the third-tier Latics, with the victor hosting West Ham United on Jan. 27.

Benevento captain Lucioni banned one year for doping

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ROME (AP) Benevento captain Fabio Lucioni has been banned one year for doping.

[ MORE: Plenty to prove for Big Sam ]

Italy’s national anti-doping organization made the decision Tuesday after the steroid clostebol was found in a sample taken after Benevento’s 1-0 loss to Torino in September.

Benevento team physician Walter Giorgione was banned for four years for administering the steroid to Lucioni in a spray.

Both Lucioni and Giorgione plan to appeal.

The 30-year-old Lucioni joined Benevento in 2014 and the defender helped the team move from the third division up into Serie A this season for the first time.

Benevento is last in Serie A with only two wins in 20 matches.

The ban is back-dated to October, meaning Lucioni can return early next season.

Everton completes move for Walcott: “I’m dead excited” (video)

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Everton continues to supply its managers with top-end talent, adding Theo Walcott to its expensive season of boys which includes Gylfi Sigurdsson, Wayne Rooney, Cenk Tosun, Jordan Pickford, and Michael Keane.

[ MORE: Plenty to prove for Big Sam ]

The deal is reported to be near $28 million for Walcott, who’s made only a half-dozen Premier League appearances this season but did nab three goals in five Europa League matches.

Walcott, 28, scored 108 goals in 397 appearances for the Gunners. His 19-goal campaign last season was his second-best — he scored 21 in 2012-13 — but Walcott dipped down Arsene Wenger‘s depth charge and is leaving to pursue regular football.

And his comments will be lapped up by the #WengerOut brigade at his now former club:

“The Club has won trophies but I want them to win trophies now. The manager is very hungry and it’s just what I need. I’ve had a couple of chats with him and straightaway I felt that hunger and that desire that he wanted from me. I need that and I wanted that

The move is another exciting one for Everton, which has underachieved under Ronald Koeman and now Sam Allardyce. And it’s another sale from Arsenal which gives pause: Are the underperforming Gunners going to regret the move?

In the 2005-06 season, Walcott made his Southampton debut in the Football League Championship at the age of 16, and moved to Arsenal the next season.

Walcott has eight goals in 47 caps for England, and won two FA Cups at Arsenal.

[ MORE: Montreal nabs Algerian DP ]

Here is a useful quote from Sam Allardyce:“His physical output is excellent, he would be one of our top players in that area as well, which will hopefully bring us a lot more excitement and more ability to get forward quicker and create.

And here is an utterly useless one: ““If you analyse his goal record, then we are looking at a player who contributes goals on a regular basis.”

You don’t say. To paraphrase: If you look at all his goals, he regularly scores goals. Here’s more from the player on his move.