By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger is cautiously optimistic that Theo Walcott’s injury is not as bad as first feared.

The England winger went down with a knee problem as he walked off from training on Friday. It was thought that the injury could be cartilage damage and he might be sidelined until May. However initial inspections have been encouraging and he may come back earlier.

"The scan results were reassuring," Wenger told Setanta TV ahead of the game at Newcastle.

"Theo still has a swollen knee. The news is there does not seem to be any cartilage or cruciate damage."

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 21 Mar 2009