Albion are breathing a sigh of relief at the extent of the injury suffered by Lewis Dunk.

The influential central defender is expected to be out for weeks, rather than months, after hurting his right ankle in Sunday’s win against Manchester United at the Amex.

Dunk was injured in an early challenge with Romelu Lukaku.

He tried to carry on but was forced off after 20 minutes and watched the second half of the Seagulls’ 3-2 victory from the tunnel with crutches and his leg in a protective boot.

Ligament damage would have meant a lengthy spell on the sidelines but manager Chris Hughton revealed to The Argus: “At the moment it doesn’t look long, so that’s a positive.

“It’s certainly not as bad as it might have been. How long we don’t know but we are probably talking weeks.”

The injury has ended Dunk’s record of playing every minute of Albion’s previous 39 Premier League matches since promotion.

The number of games he will miss will be reduced by the first international break of the season at the beginning of next month.

Summer signing Leon Balogun, who replaced Dunk against United, will partner Shane Duffy in his absence.

Dale Stephens will deputise again as skipper against Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday with vice-captain Dunk and captain Bruno (hamstring) sidelined.

Bruno is likely to resume training next week but the groin trouble which has ruled out new striker Florin Andone is dragging on.

It is unclear when the Romanian, restricted to 45 minutes during the pre-season programme, will be able to resume full training.

Jose Izquierdo is making good progress from the knee injury he reported back with from the World Cup with Colombia.

Albion are hoping the winger will return to training the week after next.