Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez has given fans something to smile about after suggesting that defender Florian Lejeune could be playing for the club again within the next four months.
The French centre back had been expected to spend a great deal longer on the sidelines, having injured his cruciate ligaments in pre-season training.
Though it was feared that Lejeune would miss the entirety of the 2018/19 season as a result of the injury, Benitez told the Shields Gazette that the defender could return much sooner than anticipated after undergoing successful surgery on his ankle.
"Normally, this injury, in the past, could be nine months. It depends on what is going on between six and nine months," Benitez told the Gazette.
"Now, in our experience with this surgeon in Italy, it takes less...between four and six months. It depends what is going on and if we have any complications."
Unsurprisingly, Newcastle fans have taken the news rather well with many Magpies supporters reacting to the news on Twitter.
He’s a monster this bloke.— el Danilo. ⚫️⚪️ (@DoctorCookeh) August 18, 2018
Excellent news this....— Burnsie 🏴NUFC🏳️ (@BenArfaChance) August 17, 2018
However, some fans responded with scepticism to Benitez's claims, suggesting that Lejeune would undoubtedly need more time to recover from his injury.
I’m always amazed Matthew people think that he will be back this season.— Andrew Davis (@andrew14ad) August 17, 2018
He won’t be back until September as it’s a 12 months-18 months injury
I think with an ACL most of it’s a mental thing. Scared of getting hurt again etc. The physical side is the easier part from what I’ve read/heard— Matt Milne (@21Milner) August 17, 2018
Lejeune joined Newcastle in the summer of 2017 from Spanish side Eibar and went on to become an indispensable figure during his first season at St James' Park, forming a formidable centre back partnership with club captain Jamaal Lascelles during the second half of the 2017/18 campaign.