Adam Smith faces three months out of action despite Bournemouth discovering that his knee injury was less severe than first feared.
The versatile defender went down holding his right knee after feigning to take a free-kick against Newcastle United earlier this month in a bizarre incident, with Smith subsequently stretchered from the pitch following a lengthy stoppage.
But concerns that the Cherries man would miss the remainder of the Premier League season have proven premature.
Smith has undergone surgery on torn cartilage but is now pencilled in for a return in mid-February.
A club statement on Monday read: "Bournemouth defender Adam Smith will be sidelined for up to three months by a knee injury sustained earlier this month.
"The full-back was stretchered off midway through the first half of the Cherries' Premier League defeat at Newcastle United.
"However, following extensive medical assessment, Smith's injury is not as bad as first feared, and on Saturday the 27-year-old underwent a procedure to repair a cartilage tear in his right knee."
The former Spurs defender has been part of a Bournemouth side that have enjoyed a hugely successful start to the campaign, with the Cherries currently sixth in the Premier League table.
Smith’s injury comes as a huge blow, with the right-back starting in all twelve of Bournemouth’s league matches so far this season.
The other main right-back option at manager Eddie Howe’s disposal is captain Simon Francis, who is predominantly a centre-back but looks set to fill in on the right flank in Smith’s absence.
Bournemouth face a tough set of fixtures in the coming weeks, with Howe’s side set to face Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool in three of their next four matches.
They’re also scheduled to take on Chelsea in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals next month.