Manchester United’s Japan playmaker Shinji Kagawa sidelined for up to four weeks with knee injury

By Dean Wilkins

Manchester United’s nimble playmaker Shinji Kagawa will be on the injury table for up to four weeks after limping off against SC Braga.

The Japanese midfielder took a hard knock in the first-half against the Portuguese – after setting up Javier Hernandez with a sumptuous cross.

And despite carrying on until half-time, the 23-year-old was brought off to make way for Nani and his manager revealed the true extent of his injury.

“Kagawa is out for three to four weeks with a knee injury,” said Sir Alex Ferguson. “Playing on Tuesday [against SC Braga] didn’t help. It is disappointing.”

But United will take positives from welcoming Chris Smalling back to first team training after almost six months out with a series of injuries – fellow England defender Phil Jones is also expected to rejoin his teammates next week.

“That is a big bonus for us,” the Scot added. “Phil Jones should start (training) a week on Monday as well.”

Jones picked up a knee injury in training next month and is one of three centreback options for Fergie who have battled with a string on fitness problems this campaign.

“Certainly getting Smalling back is a big bonus for us. Other than that, everyone else is available for Sunday’s game.”

The Reds travel to Stamford Bridge on Sunday in search of their first away victory against Chelsea in the league for a decade.

Sir Alex rested Rio Ferdinand, Danny Welbeck, Patrice Evra and Paul Scholes during the enthralling midweek comeback.

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