Portsmouth manager Andy Awford says he is hopeful defender Adam Webster will be out for "weeks rather than months".
Webster, 19, injured his knee in the 2-1 Johnstone's Paint Trophy defeat by Northampton on 7 October.
The England Under-19 central defender had surgery at the start of the week and Awford revealed it was not as bad as first feared.
"He doesn't have ligament damage which is pleasing," Awford told BBC Radio Solent of the Pompey academy graduate.
"They opened him up during surgery, there is some cartilage damage which they've sorted so the positive news is that it is going to be weeks rather than months.
"It's still not great news but it's not going to be long term so from that point of view it's pleasing."