Fulham schemer Steed Malbranque is set for at least a month on the sidelines, but fears the classy midfielder broke his ankle against West Brom have been allayed.
The French star limped out of the 1-0 win over West Brom after just 22 minutes, following a stiff tackle from Baggies midfielder Andy Johnson.
Malbranque was in major discomfort in the days after the game and was sent for a scan and X-ray, amid fears he had suffered a break to the joint.
Those fears were eased following the trip to hospital, but Malbranque is set for a month of inactivity after he was diagnosed as having damaged ligaments.
“Steed Malbranque suffered quite a substantial ankle sprain during the game against West Brom,” Fulham physio Jason Palmer told the club’s official website.
“He was initially concerned that he might have fractured his ankle so he was sent for an X-ray which confirmed no break.
“An MRI scan the following day showed that he had ligament damage on the outside of his ankle.
“At this point, we hope he will return to training within three to four weeks.”
The news will come as a blow to Fulham chief Chris Coleman, but the injury is likely to allay fears that Malbranque will leave the club in January – having been linked with the likes of Aston Villa, Tottenham, Newcastle, Liverpool and Middlesbrough in recent weeks.