St Helens coach Justin Holbrook admits he feared worse than a six-week lay-off for Zeb Taia.
Saints forward Taia dislocated a shoulder in the Betfred Super League leaders' victory over Leeds last Friday.
The 34-year-old has since been ruled out for six weeks but, such was the damage, Holbrook says that almost comes as a relief.
Holbrook said: "We pretty much knew straight after the game he'd dislocated his shoulder and there was a fair bit of damage there, but it is actually good news that he doesn't need an operation or anything.
"It's rehab and hopefully only six weeks. It could have been worse.
"But it's still disappointing. He had been playing fantastic."
Taia, who recently agreed a new contract with Saints, will miss the Challenge Cup semi-final against Halifax on July 27.
Fellow forward James Roby, however, is on course to return ahead of that showpiece clash.
The 33-year-old hooker underwent surgery earlier this month to correct a troublesome groin injury.
"He is going really well," said Holbrook. "He is still probably two or three weeks away but it was the right thing to do.
"We were going to try to see if we could manage him until the end of the season but he was getting more pain every day. Once he had his surgery he felt better straight away."