Sunderland defender Wes Brown is likely to be sidelined for eight weeks by the knee injury he sustained during Sunday's 1-1 FA Cup fourth round draw with Middlesbrough
It was at first feared that the former Manchester United player's season could be over. However, a scan has revealed that the damage may not be as extensive as was first thought.
Manager Martin O'Neill said: "We don't think he needs the operation, but he will be two weeks in a brace, two weeks elsewhere and you are looking at probably about eight weeks before he is back. But at one stage, it looked like a season-ending injury.''
Midfielder David Vaughan too, could be missing for several weeks after damaging ankle ligaments during the same game.
O'Neill said: "David was feeling better today, but he is still very, very sore and the swelling is still up, and we are looking at a few weeks for him.''
However, the news is better of midfielder Lee Cattermole, who missed the reunion with his former club after suffering a hamstring strain in training.
O'Neill said: "Lee is feeling a lot better and he is hoping to start running at the back end of next week.''