Instead, the long-serving England full-back has been a frustrated spectator as United have stumbled into the new campaign with successive draws.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson explained: "It will be another couple of weeks.
"We are frustrated with the situation because the operation was fine.
"The surgeons did find a few little bits in there which they had to repair as well, which meant a longer recovery period but then Gary suffered a little setback with a calf injury.
"That sometimes happens when you are trying to compensate after an operation. So the ankle is okay, now the calf is the problem."