Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini was able to breathe a sigh of relief this morning after learning Sergio Aguero's knee injury is not as bad as first feared.
The Barclays Premier League champions confirmed yesterday that the Argentinian striker was expected back in under a month following the knee injury he suffered against Southampton on Sunday.
There had been worries Aguero had suffered major ligament damage when he fell awkwardly early in the 3-2 season-opening win.
But a scan detected no major damage, and City are optimistic the 24-year-old will be back in contention for the trip to Stoke on September 15.
"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," Mancini told the club's website.
"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 scored 23 Barclays Premier League goals for City last season including the dramatic injury-time winner against QPR to snatch the title away from rivals United on the closing day.
He was carried off 14 minutes into Sunday's match after falling under a fair challenge from Nathaniel 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.
Mancini said: "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."
There was further positive news for City on the injury front yesterday, with both Gareth Barry and Micah Richards ahead of schedule as they aim to return to first-team activity.
Barry suffered an abdominal injury that ruled him out of England's Euro 2012 plans, but he 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 Team GB at the Olympics.