Fernandinho has an outside chance of easing Manchester City's injury crisis by returning to fitness in time for the Champions League encounter with Barcelona on February 18.
With a decisive run of fixtures over the next month which could shape City's destiny in four competitions, the prospect of Fernandinho joining Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri on the sidelines throughout that period would inflict a sizeable dent in the club's hopes of achieving an unprecedented quadruple.
However, having voiced fears that the Brazilian midfielder faced a month on the sidelines with the thigh problem that forced him to miss the Premier League defeat against Chelsea on Monday, manager Manuel Pellegrini could now have the £30m summer signing available for the last-16 first leg tie against Barca.
City have yet to ascertain the full extent of Fernandinho's injury, sustained in training on Sunday. But while a four-week lay-off is regarded as the worst-case scenario, there is hope at the club that the 28 year-old could return within a fortnight, opening up the prospect of him facing Barcelona.
In Fernandinho's absence, Pellegrini deployed centre-half Martin Demichelis alongside Yaya Toure in midfield, but with Javi Garcia, Jack Rodwell and James Milner close to full fitness after injuries, City have midfielders ready to return for the fixtures against Norwich City, Sunderland and Chelsea, in the FA Cup, prior to the Barcelona clash.
Aguero's hamstring will keep the forward out for at least a further three weeks, while Nasri's return from a medial ligament injury is also regarded as being within the same timescale.
Meanwhile, City will follow up their interest in Porto midfielder Fernando by signing the Brazilian on a free at the end of the season. (© Daily Telegraph, London)