Cardiff City believe Kenneth Zohore's injury problem has been resolved but he will not be rushed back into action.
The Danish striker, 23, was impressive at the start of the campaign but has missed nearly two months after an ankle problem was aggravated by scar tissue damage from a previous injury.
Zohore will again be missing for Monday's Championship game at Reading.
"He looks bright again because he knows we have got to the bottom of his problem," manager Neil Warnock said.
"He was in so much pain and we talked about him running it off. But he was adamant how painful it was.
"When the surgeon went in it was one of the worst he'd ever seen - he had never seen so much scar tissue in one area. So the pain was legitimate.
"You can see the relief on his face because he knows he just has to get himself fit. He'll be building up now, but I won't rush him. We're going to have him for 2018 and that is going to be important."
Midfielder Aron Gunnarsson is a doubt for Monday's game at Reading with an ankle injury, while striker Freddie Gounongbe will be sidelined for a few months with what is believed to be a groin injury.
Cardiff are also without long-term casualties Jazz Richards, Lee Camp and Kadeem Harris.
But Cardiff hope winger Harris will play a training game in the next few weeks, having been unable to play this season because of an ankle injury.
Warnock is full of praise for the manner in which his squad have coped with the injuries, having moved six points clear in second place in the Championship.
"We're just happy going along as we are. We were not supposed to be up there. Let's treat it like a bonus, but let's enjoy it," said Warnock. "We can improve if we have a little bit of luck with injuries."