Ab erdeen boss Derek McInnes has confirmed Jonny Hayes’ groin injury is not as serious as initially feared.
However the influential wing-back, 33, will still be sidelined for up to three weeks after scans confirmed a tear in his groin.
Hayes suffered the injury during a training session on the eve of the Scottish Cup semi-final and missed the 2-0 Hampden loss to Celtic.
The positive news Hayes will be back sooner than initially anticipated was tempered by a major injury blow for on loan Bristol City attacker Marley Watkins.
Welsh international Watkins limped off at Hampden at the weekend.
A scan confirmed Watkins, on loan until January, will be out for up to 10 weeks with a hamstring tear.
It is the latest injury blow for the Dons after recent confirmation midfielder Dylan McGeouch would be out for eight weeks with a groin tear.
McInnes said: “We got Jonny and Marley scanned. Jonny is probably not as bad as initially feared although he will probably still be out for the next two to three weeks.
“Thankfully it is not as big a tear or issue as Dylan McGeouch’s. We didn’t want to go into a game of Sunday’s magnitude without Jonny. Now he will probably miss the games against Hibs, Rangers and Hamilton.
“Hopefully Jonny will be back for the game on November 28 in the League Cup.”
Loan star Watkins is set to be ruled out until early next year having suffered a hamstring injury following a challenge from Celtic skipper Scott Brown at Hampden.
Watkins’ short term loan deal from Championship side Bristol expires in January raising the possibility of him having played for the final time for Aberdeen due to the injury blow.
McInnes said: “Marley has a significant tear as well as the damage on his hamstring.
📅 FIXTURE NEWS | Our away match against Kilmarnock before Christmas has been selected for live coverage by @ScotlandSky
🔴 Kilmarnock v Aberdeen
🔴 Sunday 20th December
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) November 4, 2020
“He will probably be out for between eight to 10 weeks. That is a real blow for us. We will liaise with Bristol and formulate a plan over the next week or so.”
Watkins has been a key player for McInnes since arriving from Bristol on loan and has started 13 games, scoring twice.
McInnes hoped Watkins could be the perfect foil for either Sam Cosgrove or Curtis Main with both strikers recently returning from long term injury.
Cosgrove made his first start of the season in the semi-final having returned from a knee injury suffered in the summer.
Main recovered from a thigh injury to came off the bench at Hampden for his first game time since the 2-0 Euro defeat of FK Viking in September 17.
McInnes said: “Marley was a player who against the majority of opposition could play up front alongside Sam Cosgrove or another. Unfortunately we will not get to see that for the foreseeable future.
“It is a blow for us as I have really enjoyed having Marley with us and he has been very influential in the team.”
Aberdeen will tomorrow face third placed Hibs at Pittodrie.
Victory would leap-frog the Reds above the Easter Road side into third ahead of the upcoming international break.
McInnes said: “We want to get back to winning ways after Sunday and do that hopefully with a good performance. We were very good down at Easter Road a couple of months ago (1-0 win) in a tight game.
“We understand that unless we deliver a big performance the task will be more difficult. Hibs have a good attacking threat and have started the season in relatively good form.
“They have started the season off in and around us in third spot. We expect a tough match Hopefully we can be good enough to get the job done.”
Meanwhile Aberdeen’s Premiership clash at Kilmarnock on Sunday December 20 has been moved to 12pm noon having been selected for live coverage by Sky Sports.