London: Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen faces up to four weeks on the sidelines after undergoing an operation on his injured left ankle, the club confirmed on Tuesday.
The Belgian international went under the knife in Stockholm on Monday after sustaining the injury during Arsenal's 2-1 victory over Udinese in a Champions League play-off last month.
It had been feared that Vermaelen, who missed eight months of the campaign last year after damaging an Achilles, faced a lay-off of up to two months.
However Arsenal gave a more optimistic assessment of Vermaelen's likely recovery period in a statement.
"Thomas Vermaelen is expected to be back in training with the first-team squad in around a month," the statement said.
"Vermaelen has undergone a minor procedure to remove an inflamed plantaris tendon from his left ankle.
"This is the same treatment that he had on his right ankle in January this year and has nothing to do with his Achilles tendon.
"The action was taken after consultation with specialists who advised this was the best thing to do to prevent it becoming a persistent problem."