Tony Pulis hopes Marc Wilson can defy doctors' diagnosis and return from a broken leg inside three months.
The Stoke defender fractured his left fibula during Saturday's goalless draw with Sunderland at the Britannia Stadium.
The official club line estimates Wilson's recovery will take at least three months.
But Pulis said: "We are hoping, with the medical staff we have got and the way they overachieve in lots of respects, it might even be quicker than that - fingers crossed."
Wilson has been among Stoke's most consistent performers this season, and chairman Peter Coates this week admitted it might take a foray into the transfer market to replace him.
Pulis said:"We have Andy Wilkinson who can slot in, but we are disappointed with what has happened to Marc.
"I think he has probably been our most consistent player this year - he is a very underrated lad and we will miss him because he has great quality."