Kevin Doyle hopes to return for Wolverhampton Wanderers before the end of the season to help in their fight for Premier League survival after a scan on his injured knee showed there was no rupture and the damage was not as serious as first feared.
The striker hurt the ligament playing in the Republic of Ireland's 2-1 Euro 2012 qualifying win over Macedonia in Dublin on Saturday night and there were fears that his season could be over.
Doyle returned to England on Sunday and he has now undergone a detailed examination, which Giovanni Trapattoni, the Republic manager, suggested had offered some hope for club and country.
Trapattoni is keen to have Doyle back in his team for the return fixture against Macedonia in Skopje on 4 June. Ireland sources suggested that Doyle could be out for four to eight weeks.
"It's not good but it's not bad, bad," Trapattoni said. "It's the medial ligament and there is pain. There's no rupture; it's an extension, a strain. It's up to him now to see when he wants to come back."
Wolves confirmed in a statement that "rehabilitation times can vary with this particular injury and Doyle still has a chance of featuring this season if he recovers within the eight week projected timespan".
The head of Wolves's medical department, Steve Kemp, said: "The scan has confirmed that Kevin has torn his MCL [medial collateral ligament]. We will be working with Kevin to get him back as quickly as the injury allows but the likely timespan is anywhere between four and eight weeks."
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