DeAndre Yedlin could be back for Newcastle United early next month – but Rafa Benitez won’t put a timescale on Ciaran Clark’s return.
Full-back Yedlin has been in the United States to have a thigh injury assessed by his country’s team doctors.
And it was feared the problem would sideline Yedlin for up to five weeks.
But United manager Benitez – whose Championship-leading side take on Birmingham City at St Andrew’s this afternoon – feels there is a chance Yedlin could be back in “two or three weeks”.
“We don’t like to put dates (on injuries), because sometimes it can be quicker or slower,” said Benitez.
“It depends on each one, but two or three weeks he will be out, and then we don’t know if it will be longer.
“The American federation are talking about a specific time. We don’t know how long for certain. We will have to see how he progresses.”
Centre-back Clark was forced off against Fulham last weekend with a knee injury.
He damaged his medial ligament in the game and will also miss the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Wales.
Benitez is hopeful that the problem is not serious.
“He twisted it in a tackle,” said Benitez. “We made a substitution because he was complaining a little bit, and obviously he cannot be in the (Ireland) squad.
“How long it will be? We don’t know, but he’s with the doctor receiving treatment now, and in a few days we’ll have to see how he’s getting on.”
Meanwhile, left-back Paul Dummett has been left out of Wales’ squad because of a heel problem
“Paul has a little problem, and has had some painkillers and injections,” said Benitez.
“He can carry on and he’s making an effort to stay there for us.”