Ferdinand has not played since injuring a calf before United's Premier League defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers on February 5, and Jonny Evans, his fellow central defender, also missed the trip, having been battling an ankle problem.
That means Chris Smalling is in line to start alongside Nemanja Vidic in the heart of the United back four against the French champions.
Giggs, the veteran midfielder, was another absentee from the United party, though he is more likely being rested. Anderson, the Brazil international midfielder, was a non-traveller and could be facing a lengthy absence with a knee injury.
Marseille are depleted up front with Andre-Pierre Gignac, the striker, out for two weeks with a groin injury. Fellow forwards Loic Remy (heel) and Brandao (ankle) are hoping to have recovered in time.
11.45pm, Aljazeera Sport +3