Steve Bruce has confirmed Connor Wickham should be back in action before the end of the year following fears he could be ruled out for the season.
Sunderland initially suspected Wickham had ruptured his cruciate knee ligament when he was stretchered off within the first five minutes in the 1-0 defeat at Manchester United 10 days ago.
Bruce says subsequent scans showed the £8million striker had only suffered damage to the ligament at the back of his knee and faces four to six weeks on the side-lines.
The Sunderland boss has revealed it may take Wickham a couple of weeks more to regain match fitness but he is grateful the injury is far less severe than a season-ending cruciate blow.
"Thankfully, it won't rule him out for the season which was our initial fear and that is a big relief," Bruce told the club's official website.
"If you tear your cruciate or medial ligament, you are generally out for at least six months.
"We believe there is damage to a ligament at the back of the knee and we hope that it will repair within four to six weeks."