Mark Schwarzer is confident of returning to training within two weeks, despite the fact he is having surgery on his broken cheekbone.
The Middlesbrough number one was caught by a stray elbow from Dean Ashton during the FA Cup semi-final defeat to West Ham on Sunday.
Now Schwarzer is to have surgery on the injury, but he feels he could recover in time to even finish the season with Boro.
Early reports suggested that Schwarzer may be in danger of missing the World Cup finals - which begin in early June, but the Boro star is confident he can return.
If Schwarzer progresses as he expects, then he would be available for the Uefa Cup final in May - should Boro navigate their way past Steaua Bucharest on Thursday.
The news will also be a huge boost to Australian coach Guus Hiddink, who has already earmarked the Boro ace as one of his key players ahead of the World Cup.
Despite Schwarzer's optimism, Boro are not thinking about a return this term.
"Mark is likely to miss the rest of Middlesbrough's season, but should be okay for the World Cup," Boro's head physio Grant Downie told the club's website.
Meanwhile, as a result of Schwarzer's injury Boro have recalled Ross Turnbull from his loan spell at Crewe.