Rangers boss Mark Warburton is keeping his fingers crossed for good news after confirming Joe Garner is due to have his shoulder injury scanned on Wednesday.
The Ibrox striker had to be rushed to hospital after dislocating the joint during the Hogmanay Old Firm clash with Celtic.
The freak injury left the £1.8million former Preston man in obvious agony as he was stretchered from the field.
And Warburton fears it could be a damaging blow to his side’s hopes of clinching second place in the Ladbrokes Premiership if the 28-year-old frontman is ruled out for the long-term.
Garner has had to wait for the swelling around his shoulder to ease before having it assessed by medics but has been told he could be ruled out for up to three months if surgery is required.
Warburton – who welcomed Garner and the rest of his squad back to their Auchenhowie training base on Monday after being given a week off following the 2-1 defeat to Brendan Rodgers’ Hoops – told Rangers TV: “Joe has a dislocated shoulder as you saw in the Old Firm game.
“He’s rugged Joe, he’s robust and our obvious concern is that we have to watch Joe and look after him.
“You always look after the health and welfare of any player but also recognise the way Joe plays the game. He’s aggressive, he’s all out, and he’s fearless in the way he plays.
“He has a scan on Wednesday. We’re very hopeful that the way he has recovered dramatically, in terms of the strength he has shown and the movement in the limb already, means we get good news from the scan and it won’t be too long to keep him out.
“But we do what’s right for Joe Garner so hopefully it will be good news.”
Warburton has already made his first move of the January transfer window after landing USA international Emerson Hyndman on loan from Bournemouth.
And Press Association Sport understands a loan move for Arsenal’s Jon Toral is likely to be completed on Wednesday.
And Raith Rovers’ 20-year-old centre-back David Bates is also being lined up for a permanent switch to Ibrox. He spent the first half of the campaign on loan with the Light Blues, featuring for the club’s Under-20s side as well as occasionally providing defensive cover on the bench for Warburton’s top team.
The Gers boss has been encouraged by Bates’ progress and is now set to reward him with a full-time contract.
Rovers boss Gary Locke admits he cannot stand in the young defender’s way after he was offered an 18-month deal.
And he revealed the Fife outfit hope to cash in on the move in future after inserting a number of sell-on clauses into the deal.
Locke told Press Association Sport: “It’s very rare that a young player will get the chance to move from Raith Rovers to Rangers on loan.
“With my relationship with Davie Weir, they asked to have a look at David and were kind enough to give us a couple of players on loan. David has done very well during that spell and now Rangers have told us they’d like to sign him.
“It’s an unbelievable move for the lad and I certainly couldn’t stand in his way.
“He is desperate to make the move, so we wish him all the best and hopefully he has a really good career.
“How long will it be before he can start challenging for a first-team spot there? Well he’s still got a long way to go but he has a lot of potential.
“It won’t really mean any extra money for us at this point but maybe if he goes and plays a lot of games and Rangers decide to sell him, I’m pretty sure the club has covered its back in that sense.”