Sunderland's highly-rated teenager Jordan Henderson could return to action before the end of March.
It had been thought that the 19-year-old was set to miss the rest of the season after he had to stretchered off the pitch during the second half of Saturday's 1-1 draw with Wigan Athletic with an ankle injury.
Boss Steve Bruce is waiting for the results of a scan before confirming how long Henderson will be sidelined for although he is relatively upbeat.
He told the club's official website: "He'll have a scan on Thursday once the swelling has gone down, so we won't know any of the serious stuff until at least then.
"But if it's a normal twisted ankle, then it looks like he'll be out for four to six weeks.
"It seems to be our season so far where people who've been playing very, very well for us get injured or suspended.
"That's been the problem over the last couple of months. The kid's done fantastic and he'll be a very big loss for us."