Crawley Town hope Joe McNerney could recover earlier than feared from his knee injury.
The player had said in an interview he felt he had disclocated it in a friendly game last Tuesday week against Portsmouth, forcing him to leave the field.
But now the Reds’ management hope to get him back in action through strengthening work rather than needing an operation.
A visit to see a specialist this week revealed McNerney, who has not played a first team match since October 10, did not dislocate his kneecap afterall.
Assistant manager Jimmy Dack believes with the right programme in place in could be before the end of the season.
He said: “Joe went to see a specialist in the week and he has given him a programme to work to for two to four weeks and we get improvements with him.
“Joe says he felt his dislocated it but our physio says he just needs to do some strengthening work on his knee to stabilise it a bit.
“We are going to go down a different angle and see if we can build the knee up to get him playing.
“We don’t know if it is the transition from part-time to full-time football. It has happened in the past that is can be hard for people’s bodies to get used to the daily training is hard for them.
“Hopefully he won’t need an operation, doing the right rehab and strengthening the knee up, we could get him back sooner rather than later.
“We are missing him, he’s been out for a long time. He started the season brilliantly and we just want to get him back to where he was.
“We are really gutted for the lad - Joe doesn’t want to be injured, it’s his first time in professional football and he’s trying to grab it with both hands and he’s fighting tooth and nail to get fit.
“We will keep working with him and persevering with him as he’s a good kid and I’ve no doubts he’ll be back sooner rather than later.”
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