FLORENCE, Italy -- Fiorentina striker Giuseppe Rossi could be back playing in as little as six weeks, much sooner than first thought after he damaged his right knee again.
Rossi was thought to have ruptured the cruciate ligament in his right knee for a third time but tests Monday revealed that the American-born forward has a medial collateral ligament injury.
"It seems to be a sprain with damage to the collateral. We got lucky. He could return to the pitch in 6/7 weeks," one of his agents, Federico Pastorello, wrote in Italian on Twitter.
Fiorentina said Rossi will soon be seen by Colorado-based Dr. Richard Steadman -- the same surgeon who carried out the second operation -- "in order to correctly evaluate the extent of the injury and the prognosis."
Rossi limped off in tears in Sunday's 1-0 win over Livorno following a strong tackle from Leandro Rinaudo.
The club initially feared Rossi would be out for another six months, although that was later reduced to three with the news that it wasn't another cruciate ligament injury.
"We are more optimistic," Rossi's other agent, Andrea Pastorello, said as the pair left the hospital to applause from fans.
Rossi tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in 2011, and did so again in training six months later before he had returned to first-team football.
The 26-year-old Rossi is the top scorer in Serie A this season with 14 goals in 17 matches and had returned to the Italy team. He is expected to be a key part of Cesare Prandelli's World Cup plans.
"Because of what's happened, Giuseppe has a great strength of character," Prandelli said. "He knows how much we value him. I'll say now: stay strong Giuseppe, we're waiting for you."