DEFENDING GDCA champion Coro has received a massive boost with captain Haydn Pascoe set to make an earlier than expected return from injury.
Pascoe had all but ruled himself out for the season after an innocuous incident in a match against Leagues Club last month left him fearing he had injured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee for the second time in three years.
But an MRI scan taken just prior to his scheduled surgery earlier this month revealed he had simply suffered damage to his cartilage, freeing him to return possibly as soon as next round.
It has been nearly three weeks since Pascoe went under the knife and said he was over the moon he is able to play again this season.
"I prepared everyone for the worst but it was good news," he said.
"It was only cartilage damage which was the best possible outcome.
"Lucky, I didn't do my ACL or else I would have been screwed.
"That was my initial thought (at the time), that the ACL was gone again, but thank God it didn't.
"Everything's come good and I should be right after Australia Day."
The Cougars have sorely missed their star skipper, losing an important two-dayer to bottom side Hanwood earlier in the month.
But Coro returned to the winner's circle last weekend with an impressive win over Exies in the Peter Davis One Day Cup.
"They needed it - we were due for a win," Pascoe said.
"It's a very close competition. If we win our next two games I think we're in the one day final, so it's a very tight situation at the moment.
"All we need to do is keep on winning games."
The only downside for Pascoe - aside from the fact he missed Sunday's O'Farrell Cup challenge, which was brought forward from March - is that there is now no longer any cartilage in his knee.
"That's the only bad thing now, I'm going to have trouble with it in the future," he said.
"But I'll still get back on the paddock as soon as I can."
There is no local cricket tomorrow with a general bye to be observed, but Coro will take on Yenda next week, while Exies face Diggers and Hanwood host Leagues Club.