Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has allayed fears that teenager Jordan Henderson will be sidelined for the rest of the season.
The highly-rated 19-year-old midfielder damaged ankle ligaments in the recent 1-1 draw with Wigan Athletic but is expected to be ready for a first-team return by the end of March.
Bruce told the club's official website: "Obviously we're glad there's no serious damage, but to be without a player like Jordan for six weeks is a blow.
"We can now get on with the rehabilitation process. Jordan is keeping his spirits up and he's prepared to work hard while he's out."
Henderson, who enjoyed a spell on loan with Coventry City last term, made his debut for the Black Cats in November 2008 and established himself as a first-team regular in the last four months.
He has scored twice in 30 first-team appearances for the Wearsiders.