Newcastle full-back Davide Santon was in London on Monday to have fluid drained from his injured knee in an attempt to avoid surgery.
The 20-year-old Italian, who had been in line to make his first-team debut for the club at Aston Villa on Saturday, damaged his right knee is training last week, and there were fears that he could be missing for a month.
However, manager Alan Pardew is keeping his fingers crossed that he could return to training within days, saying "He has gone to London and will have his knee drained of a little bit of fluid that's on it, and then we are hoping that he will train."
He added: "If that doesn't work, probably at some stage, we will have to look at some keyhole surgery in there to make sure that this fluid doesn't appear again."
Santon's absence is a blow for Pardew, who signed him from Inter Milan to replace Jose Enrique following the Spaniard's move to Liverpool.
Utility man Ryan Taylor has been filling in at left-back, but it remains to be seen whether he gets a rest for Tuesday night's Carling Cup third round trip to Nottingham Forest.
Frenchman Hatem Ben Arfa, who has not played a competitive game for the club in almost a year, will figure at the City Ground, but Alan Smith will miss out with a hamstring injury and Dan Gosling is a doubt with a groin problem.
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms