Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is hopeful Henrikh Mkhitaryan will shake off his ankle injury in time for the Christmas fixture schedule.
Mkhitaryan had turned in another man-of-the-match display during Sunday's home win against Tottenham before a tackle from Danny Rose led to the summer signing being stretchered off.
The Armenian marked his performance with the winning goal and although he will play no part in the away games at Crystal Palace on Wednesday and West Brom on Saturday, Mourinho is expecting him back sooner rather than later.
"Hopefully he can play at Christmas," Mourinho told a press conference at Carrington. "We believe it's possible, so when I saw him on a stretcher I thought it was more difficult.
"When I watched the tackle on TV I was a bit scared. It's a pity because he's going to miss matches in his best period, but at least we don't lose the player for so long."
Mourinho was full of praise for Mkhitaryan's strength of mind in turning his fortunes round.
The former Borussia Dortmund player has taken his time to shine in the Premier League, but scored his first goal for the club in last Thursday's Europa League win against Zorya Luhansk and followed up with an emphatic finish on Sunday.
"We bought him because I asked the club to do it because I like the player, I analysed the player," Mourinho said.
"So it would be even more frustrating for me if everything went wrong, but he needed a period of adaptation at every level.
"In that period he was a great professional because maybe another guy in his position would find excuses, would blame the manager, the pitch, the weather, like many of the players now, they do.
"He was quiet, closed his mouth and worked really hard, waiting for an opportunity and he was playing so good now.
"But hopefully a few matches out is not going to stop his evolution."
Mourinho said he had plenty of options in Mkhitaryan's absence and that filling the gap was not the issue.
"Rooney, Rashford, Lingard, Ashley Young, Memphis Depay - that's a position where we have lots of players," he added.
"So that would not be a problem to choose a player to play. The problem is he was playing so well and now he's not playing."
United will look to close the six-point gap on the top four at Selhurst Park on Wednesday and travel to face Tony Pulis' West Brom on Saturday.