Florian Lejeune could be back in just FOUR months after undergoing successful knee surgery.
The Newcastle United tore his anterior cruciate ligament last month.
And there were fears that the injury could sideline him for the entire season.
However, United manager Rafa Benitez is hopeful that Lejeune could be back early next year.
Benitez said: “Normally, this injury, in the past, could be nine months. It depends on what is going on between six and nine months.
“Now, in our experience with this surgeon in Italy, it takes less ... between four and six months. It depends what is going on and if we have any complications.”
Normally, this injury, in the past, could be nine months. It depends on what is going on between six and nine months. Now, in our experience with this surgeon in Italy, it takes less ... between four and six months.Rafa Benitez
Newcastle winger Rolando Aarons suffered the same injury last year – and returned in four month.
United sent Lejeune, signed from Eibar last year, to the same surgeon in Italy.
Asked if he expected Lejeune back this season, Benitez said: “Yes, for sure.
“Last year we had Rolando, and he was fine in four months with the same surgeon.
“Normally, between four and six months if you don’t have any complications.”
Lejeune posted a message on Twitter after his operation.
The 27-year-old tweeted: “My knee operation was a success. Now it’s time to rest and recover.”
Meanwhile, DeAndre Yedlin – who suffered a knee injury in Newcastle’s season-opener against Tottenham Hotspur last weekend – will not be involved against Cardiff City this afternoon.
However, the defender could return against Chelsea at St James’s Park on August 26.
Benitez said: “I think it (the Cardiff game) is too soon. He will stay here. He will need some time to get back to his level.”
Javier Manquillo is set to deputise for Yedlin at the Cardiff City Stadium.
“Yedlin won’t be in the squad, so we have to bring someone else into the team,” said Benitez.
“Normally, it would be Javier Manquillo, because he’s a right-back.”