Popular defender John Brayford faces six months on the sidelines with a knee ligament problem, but Blades boss Nigel Clough is thankful that the injury is not as severe as initially feared.
Brayford's injury was sustained late in the first half of the play-off semi-final first leg against Swindon last Thursday. With United winning 1-0 at the time, he failed to re-appear for the second half and subsequent tests have confirmed that he could be back before Christmas, rather than the initial fears that he would be unavailable for a longer period.
Boss Clough commented: "John went to see a specialist in London earlier this week and the results were possibly the best case scenario in a serious situation because we feared that it could be up to 12 months or beyond.
"Fortunately, he doesn't need an operation, he will be managed by our very capable medical team and we hope to have him firing on all cylinders again by Christmas.
"John loves the Club, he was gutted that he was unable to take part in the second leg at Swindon and was a major loss but our focus now turns to getting him right and back to his best later in the year."
Brayford, 27, has made a total of 43 appearances for the Blades, scoring three goals. He impressed on loan last season, whilst after returning in January, he has operated at right-back and central defence, as well as wearing the captain's armband.