The Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero is expected back in action in less than a month following the knee injury he suffered against Southampton on Sunday.
There had been fears the Argentine had suffered major ligament damage when he fell awkwardly early in the champions' 3-2 season-opening win.
But a scan has found no major damage, and City are now optimistic the 24-year-old will be back in contention for the trip to Stoke on 15 September.
"I don't think Sergio will be out for long and we are hoping he will be back after the international break which is obviously fantastic news for him and for us," the City manager, Roberto Mancini, said yesterday. "We were very worried a couple of days ago because we feared he could be out for six months or maybe even more which would have been very bad news."
Aguero, who scored 23 Premier League goals for City last season, including the dramatic injury-time winner against QPR to snatch the title away from their rivals Manchester United on the closing day, was carried off 14 minutes into Sunday's match after falling under a fair challenge from Nathanial Clyne.
Later that night, Aguero sought to ease fears by saying the injury was not as bad as it had appeared, although no further announcement had been made by the club regarding his condition until yesterday
"It looked like a very strange injury at the time and because it was his knee, we were obviously very concerned so this news is a relief for everybody," Mancini added.
There was further good news for City on the injury front, with Gareth Barry and Micah Richards also ahead of schedule. Barry suffered an abdominal injury that ruled him out of this summer's European Championship, but is back in training and working to catch up after missing the pre-season, while Richards is making progress after suffering an ankle injury while playing for Britain at the Olympics.
"Gareth will also be ready after the international break," Mancini said. "He hasn't played any games for almost four months and he needs to build his fitness up, but he is training again and I don't see him being out for any longer than one month and, hopefully, maybe just a couple of weeks.
"Micah's injury is more serious and he could be out a little longer but, having said that, with rest and the right treatment, we are hopeful he could be ready in about one month, which again would be great news."Reuse content