Celtic have announced defender Mark Wilson has been ruled out for up to three months after undergoing a knee operation.
The injury is a setback for under-pressure boss Neil Lennon but a possible return early in the New Year is an improvement on initial fears of a six-month lay-off.
Lennon was concerned Wilson's season could have been ended by the long-standing knee problems and the player had visited a specialist in London.
Celtic have confirmed he has since had surgery, however, his rehabilitation period has been set at just three months.
A short statement on Celtic's official website read: "Mark Wilson is set to be out for up to three months following surgery on his right knee. The defender underwent an arthroscopy last night (Wednesday).
"It had originally been feared that Wilson would miss the rest of the season, but it's hoped that he'll be able to make a return to action early next year."
Wilson joined Celtic from Dundee United in 2006 and in February earned his first cap for Scotland in the Nations Cup match against Northern Ireland.
The 27-year-old has seen his career marred by injury and has previously had a number of knee operations.
Wilson has made 10 appearances for Celtic so far this term, with fitness issues meaning he has struggled to hold down a regular place.