CLARETS striker Charlie Austin faces make-or-break tests on his injured shoulder.
The nine-goal frontman dislocated his shoulder in the 2-1 defeat at home to Leeds last Saturday – for the third time in 14 months.
However, after scans last week, the injury is not as bad as feared, and boss Eddie Howe is hopeful he will return sooner rather than later.
He said: “We are pushing Charlie’s rehab along.
“The scans showed a little bit of damage in the shoulder area, but what we are going to do now is push Charlie back into a series of tests until the point where either he breaks down and need the operation, or he comes back and is fine. We will take him down the path of running, shoulder strengthening work, contact and training and playing.
“At any one of those stages he might break down so we can’t put any timescale on his return yet.
“Charlie is working very hard, but still hasn’t trained with us yet. We are still trying to build up the strength.”