Benny Coulter is hopeful of returning to the Down panel in early July despite breaking his ankle in a club game.
Down manager James McCartan delivered the news of Coulter's injury at the launch of the Ulster Championship in Belfast on Tuesday night and at the time he admitted that the team would have to have 'an extended stay in the championship for him to make an appearance'.
Coulter, however, is more hopeful than that after being told that the break is a clean one and will require him to wear a cast for the next six weeks.
Providing his recovery goes to plan the 2010 All Star is confident he could be back in action as early as the start of July.
"Happening so close to the championship, it’s tougher to take,” Coulter told the Irish Examiner.
"James and the management team had been handling me well and I felt I was coming into a real patch of sharpness and fitness.
"These things happen but hopefully it’ll come on and heal well. The doctor told me it’s a good, clean break and if it does heal I could be back in 10 or 12 weeks.
"I’m not ruling myself out. All going well, I’ll get game time in early July and hopefully we’re still in the thick of things and doing well.”
"I’m a quick enough healer and a lad in the club had the same problem and had no problems coming back.
"That’s given me a good lift and the doctor has already said there will be no repercussions from it."