U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard (24) helps injured striker Romelu Lukaku off the field during Everton's 4-0 loss to rival Liverpool Tuesday.
Carl Recine/Action Images/ZumaPress.com

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) - Everton manager Roberto Martinez says striker Romelu Lukaku will be back to action earlier than expected after avoiding a serious ankle injury in a collision with a teammate.

Lukaku, who was carried off on a stretcher during Everton's 4-0 loss at Liverpool in Tuesday night's Merseyside derby, is likely to be out ''weeks rather than months,'' Martinez said.

Lukaku, who has scored nine goals in 20 matches since joining from Chelsea on loan last summer, collided with teammate Gareth Barry as they vainly tried to prevent Steven Gerrard from opening the scoring.

Martinez said ''there is no ligament damage and the injury is not as bad as we first thought.''

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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