Dons boss Gary Thornton is hoping for a belated Christmas present in the form of good news about play-maker Jordan Howden.
The half-back is due to visit a leading hip specialist at the start of the New Year for a follow-up appointment following an initial consultation several weeks ago.
The stand-off made a delayed start to the 2016 campaign and his training was ‘managed’ during the rest of the campaign in order not to aggravate the problem.
“Jordan is such a key player for us that we wanted to do everything possible to keep him playing,” said Thornton.
“He’d be very stiff the 48 hours after a game but the club physio would work with him and get him fit for the next game.
“Obviously it was not an ideal situation and the plan was always to try and get to the bottom of the problem and hopefully get it resolved during the close season.
“Jordan had a scan and a cortisone injection a couple of weeks ago to try and reduce the inflammation and we are hoping that it will do the trick but we won’t know until he’s been back to see the specialist.
“But if the treatment hasn’t worked then, depending on what the scan shows up, he might need some sort of surgery but we are hoping that it won’t come to that.
“All we are doing at the moment is rehabbing him and monitoring his progess.
“There is no point in trying to push him too hard at this stage.
“We’ve signed Jack Miller, who is primarily a scrum-half, but can play in both half-back roles, so we’ve got cover.”
Thornton says he has been impressed by Miller, the son of former head coach Tony Miller, in training.
“He’s got a terrific kicking game and his organisational skills are excellent and if he’s got his dad’s traits I’m sure he’ll be an excellent defender.
“I’ve been impressed with him.”
Howden’s half-back partner Jordie Hedges, who had been suffering from tendinitis in his knee - something which troubled him in the closing weeks of last season - has recently resumed training after treatment.
Full-back Tom Carr became the third Doncaster player to undergo knee surgery this week.
“It was just a clear-out job and he should be back training early in the New Year,” said Thornton.
Veteran prop Makali Aizue and winger Louis Sheriff both had similar operations several weeks ago.
“I’d expect them both to be a week or so off being ready to resume full training when the players report back after the Christmas break,” said Thornton.
“I’m hoping to have everyone available for our first competitive game in mid-February.”
n Dons have been drawn away to Keighley Cougars in the first round of the iPro Sport Cup.