St Mirren are hopeful Stephen McGinn will be back in about two weeks despite undergoing hernia surgery.
The Buddies skipper pulled out of Monday night’s visit of Kilmarnock during the warm-up after a long-standing problem.
But the midfielder could be back quicker than expected given the length of time other players who underwent the same operation took to recover.
“Stephen McGinn had a minor operation on Wednesday with a hernia so it will probably be a couple of weeks,” manager Oran Kearney said.
“It was down in Leicester and by all accounts (Jamie) Vardy was back in five days and (Kasper) Schmeichel possibly in eight days or something. It can be quite a quick turnaround depending on how the rehab goes.
“We are not pitching it as quick as that. We will see how it goes but ideally it will be a couple of weeks.
“You also want to make sure when you get him back that he’s back for the rest of the season. What you don’t want to do is do something silly and it possibly puts him away for another couple of weeks.”
St Mirren lost a late goal to go down 1-0 against Killie and remain bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership, but Kearney again saw encouraging signs after a three-game unbeaten run came to an end.
Greg Tansey is set to return from suspension when Kearney’s side face St Johnstone in Perth on Saturday and the Paisley boss is happy with how his squad is shaping up after a major January overhaul.
“Particularly getting the numbers of the squad down has been really helpful, because I don’t feel the passengers are there anymore, I don’t feel we are carrying anybody,” he said.
“The new players have all done extremely and are all improving game by game.
“I think the only way is up for them because they came in with quite a few obstacles, some on the pitch and some off the pitch in relation to language and everything else. Some were arriving here mid-season and some without a pre-season behind them.
“As that evens itself out and settles down, you are hoping we start to see the best of these guys, and for me that’s been apparent in the last few games.”