The former England international suffered a knee injury in Sunday's 2-1 FA Cup third-round loss to Swansea.
Ferdinand, 35, had been making his first appearance since December 10 when he was forced off after 76 minutes of the third-round contest at Old Trafford.
There had been fears the former England international could face a longer lay-off but it is understood scans have revealed heavy bruising rather than any ligament damage.
It is thought Ferdinand is likely to be out for 10-14 days, meaning he would be doubtful for the January 19 Barclays Premier League trip to Chelsea.
A more likely comeback target could be the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg against Sunderland three days later.