Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi is hoping to return to action in as little as two weeks' time after being fitted for a protective mask.
The 29-year-old travelled to Detroit last week for a consultation with specialist Jeremy Murray after undergoing surgery to repair his fractured cheekbone, and is now back on Tyneside and has resumed light training.
He hopes to start working with his team-mates again some time next week, and then to be available for selection quicker than was first expected.
Ameobi told the club's official website, www.nufc.co.uk: "It all depends on the fitness. The mask is there to protect it, but I also have to get used to wearing it.
"We have to make sure that safety-wise it works, it will protect me, and that I can get the confidence in it.
"But hopefully if I can keep on working hard this week and next, then I might join in training some time next week. Then I'll probably be looking at a week to 10 days from there, so hopefully not too long. I'm hoping to halve the time of the recovery with this mask, so it would be good for that to be the case."