Manchester United are considering resting Wayne Rooney, possibly for the rest of the season, as he recovers from a chipped bone in his toe, according to reports.
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Rooney needed to have a pain-killing injection to play in United's 3-1 defeat to Bayern Munich on Wednesday, manager David Moyes said.
Now, with the Red Devils' Champions League hopes ended and the club mired in mid-table in the Premier League with five games remaining, there's little need to risk the England striker when he's not fully healthy.
United are thinking of sidelining Rooney for a period of time to let the bone regrow and heal properly, The Telegraph reported.
Word of Rooney on the sideline would come as welcome news to England manager Roy Hodgson with the World Cup two months away.
Rooney first injured the toe in United's 1-1 draw with Bayern in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinal on April 2 and now faces a race to be fully fit for Brazil.
Moyes said Rooney was happy to take the injection to get in the second leg against Bayern, and the manager insisted United would not jeopardise their striker's long-term health to play him in midweek.
"We think it is OK because we wouldn't do anything medically wrong," Moyes said on Tueday. "We take our advice from our doctors. Everyone knows the character Wayne is and the type of person he is and he is determined to play. If he is determined, we would be mad not to give him that opportunity to do so."
Rooney was not at his best against Bayern, missing to key opportunities to score as United crashed out.
United are already missing their other premier striker with Robin van Persie injured, and without Rooney they could rely on Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez, and possibly teenager James Wilson, as they battle Tottenham for a spot in the Europa League.