Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane does not believe Eden Hazard's ankle injury will require him to have surgery.
Hazard suffered a microfracture in his ankle in Real's 2-2 UEFA Champions League draw with Paris Saint-Germain on November 26.
Per AS' Mario de la Riva, when asked if the winger would need an operation, Zidane said:
"I don't think so, but nor do I know exactly. I can tell you that right now the injury is under control and I hope it turns out to be better than forecast. They were talking about one or two weeks, and now the main thing is to be patient, because it's not a good moment—we hope he's back with us quickly."
As Tom Allnutt of the Agence France-Presse reported, the injury is expected to keep him out until January:
Real Madrid play Barcelona in the first Clasico of the season on December 18, so it seems he'll be unavailable for the trip to the Camp Nou.
The Belgian has assisted four goals in 13 matches for Los Blancos since he arrived in the summer but scored just once.
Allnutt suggested his absence might not be a devastating blow to Madrid:
Real have garnered better results with him than without him this season, though:
The Spanish giants have since picked up two wins from two in La Liga without the 28-year-old, though they would have been expected to do so given their opponents were bottom-half sides Alaves and Espanyol.
Barcelona—who sit level with Real on 34 points from 15 games—will be a different challenge altogether.
Hazard may not have been at his best since his arrival at the Santiago Bernabeu, but his performances were showing an encouraging level of improvement, and he can make decisive impacts in the final third.
It bodes well for a speedy recovery if surgery isn't needed, but by the time he's back on the pitch, Real could be behind in the title race.