Manchester:Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was ruled out for three weeks with a hamstring injury after scoring the goal that lifted the defending champions into second place in the English Premier League on Wednesday.
Rooney's ninth goal of the season after 56 seconds clinched a 1-0 victory over Wigan, but he limped off the field about five minutes later.
"With a hamstring you are talking a minimum of three weeks," United manager Alex Ferguson said. "We hope it isn't any longer than that."
Rooney will miss the second leg of the League Cup semifinals against Derby next week and the FA Cup match with Tottenham, as well as at least four league matches.
A victory in the first of those league matches on Saturday at Bolton would enable United to take over first place from Liverpool, which leads the standings by two points.
Rooney's injury could provide an opportunity for Carlos Tevez to impress Ferguson as negotiations continue over a new contract, although the Argentina striker picked up a knock during the first half on Wednesday, but managed to complete the match.
Jonny Evans, already playing in place of injured center back Rio Ferdinand, also made it to the end despite taking heavy knocks in the first period. Defender Patrice Evra was out for three weeks with a foot injury.
"Carlos limped through the second half and Jonny limped through virtually the whole game," Ferguson said. "We will have to assess them and see how they are. We need our best team on Saturday because Bolton are a big side."
With a game in hand, United was two points behind Liverpool, which has 46, and the defending champions could go to the top of the standings by beating Bolton on Saturday.
"I don't mind when we go top as I always feel it is the best position to be in," Ferguson said. "Hopefully we will be there by Saturday night, so we need to try and patch the injured players back up."