Barcelona attacker Ousmane Dembele is recovering well from the nasty hamstring tear he suffered against Getafe and may be able to play some part against Real Madrid on 23 December, according to the doctor who operated on his injury.
Dembele joined the Blaugrana from Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund in the summer in a deal that could be worth £135.5m (€153.8m) but his career at the Camp Nou has yet to really begin after he suffered a hamstring tear in only his third match for Ernesto Valverde's side.
Barcelona have managed to rally in Dembele's absence and have carved out a four-point lead at the top of La Liga without the Frenchman, dropping just two points in the process. There were initial fears that the Catalan giants would be without the 20-year-old until January, but Sakari Orava, who has also performed surgery on David Beckham and Pep Guardiola during his 37 years of medical practice, thinks the former Rennes wonderkid will back doing ballwork in the coming weeks.
Orava also said that Dembele could recover in time to face Barcelona's arch-rivals Real next month but was not able to "assure" the Camp Nou fanbase of the attacker's availability for the clash against Zinedine Zidane's side, who are currently eight points behind Barca after just 11 league matches.
"Could he play against Madrid? Maybe, maybe... but I can't assure you of anything," Orava told Spanish radio outlet Cadena Ser. "Right now he is training in the sandpits that Barça have and I think that in the middle of November he'll be able to touch a ball again."
News of Dembele's quicker-than-expected recovery will no doubt please Barca boss Valverde, who has had to chop and change his attacking personnel in recent matches. Andre Gomes, Gerard Deulofeu and Paco Alcacer have all been afforded game-time on the flanks by the former Athletic Club boss, who may see fit to hand the latter just his third league start of the season against Leganes on 18 November after he produced a match-winning display in Barcelona's 2-1 victory against Sevilla on Saturday.