St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson hopes to learn next week when key defender Liam Gordon will be fit to return.
The 25-year-old centre-back has been sidelined by injury since the away leg of the Europa Conference League play-off against LASK in Austria a month ago.
Saints medics have struggled to get to the bottom of the problem, but Davidson is hopeful the situation will become clearer when Gordon undergoes a scan on Monday.
The manager said: “Liam’s situation is a bit unknown. I don’t really know how long he’ll be out. It’s a different type of injury he has and we need to be really careful to make sure that when he comes back he’s 100 per cent right.
“He goes for a scan next Monday and hopefully he’s in the final stages of his recovery.
“If we get good news from that, I don’t expect it to be too long after that. If it’s not as good news, it will maybe be a few more weeks.
“The sooner I can get Liam back in the better because he’s a real leader on and off the pitch.”
There is positive news on the injury front regarding on-loan St Mirren midfielder Cammy MacPherson.
The 22-year-old dislocated his shoulder immediately after moving to McDiarmid Park on deadline day but could be back in time for next Wednesday’s Premier Sports Cup tie against Dundee or the league game away to Hibs the following weekend.
Davidson said: “Cammy will probably be back a lot quicker than we thought. The dislocation wasn’t a bad one in terms of his ligaments etc., so we’re all good that way. Hopefully he’ll be ready next week.”
Veteran midfielder Craig Bryson is also close to a return after being sidelined since tweaking his medial ligament in a pre-season friendly against Fleetwood.
Davidson said: “Craig’s back running and that’s great news for me because he brings experience in the middle of the park.
“The injuries have generally come more in the middle of the park and in the back line, so I’ve got a raft of forwards to pick from.”
Davidson’s side are still to win a league game this term, but the arrival of several new players, including former Hamilton playmaker Ali Crawford, has given the manager optimism for the weeks and months ahead.
He said: “I think the squad is stronger than last season. I’m pretty excited about it.
“The Rangers game (on Saturday) was a tough one for us because we didn’t have much of the ball, but I’m looking forward to games where we’re going to have a little bit more possession and see what we can do with the ball.
“I’ve been really impressed with Ali Crawford, his quality and delivery and final pass, especially in training. He drifts into great areas.”