READING FC boss Jose Gomes believes Nelson Oliveira can prove doctors wrong and play again before the end of the season.

The on-loan Norwich City striker suffered a ‘significant’ hamstring injury after scoring in his side’s vital win at Ipswich Town at the beginning of the month.

Royals feared the influential Portuguese forward could be back in a few weeks, which included the current two-week international break.

However, scans revealed the damage is worse than initially thought and that Oliveira was unlikely to feature again over the final eight games of the season.

The news came as a massive blow to Reading’s prospects of avoiding relegation, with Gomes severely short of options up front with Jon Dadi Bodvarsson also sidelined with injury and Marc McNulty on loan at Hibs where his seven goals in seven games led to a Scotland call-up.

Reading Chronicle:

Nelson Oliveira calls for medical help after suffering a 'significant' hamstring injury at Ipswich Town.

But Gomes is confident Oliveira – with three goals in his six matches – could defy medics and be back sooner than diagnosed.

Royals’ boss explained: "It was a very bad injury. The doctor talked about 10 weeks at the time of his scan, so it means he cannot play again until the end of the season.

"That's what the doctor said, but he also said Oliveira had good genes so maybe he can recover and help us in the last games.

"He did very well for us and I think he will help us. He is working very hard to be ready. With treatment and a lot of work, I really believe he will help us."

Oliveira has proven to be a quick healer after an alleged stamp by Tyrone Mings in a 0-0 draw with Aston Villa last month left him with horrific facial injuries.

He had reconstructive surgery to fix a shattered broken nose and deep wounds but was back playing just 11 days later in a protective facemask when he scored a crucial winner against Blackburn Rovers at Madejski Stadium.

Reading Chronicle:

Nelson Oliveira required reconstructive surgery on his severe facial injuries.

Now, Royals fans will be hoping Oliveira can make another rapid recovery after last weekend’s 0-0 draw at Stoke City left them one place above the relegation zone.

However, there is better news regarding Reading’s other injured players ahead of the final eight fixtures of the season.

Midfielders Andy Rinomhota and Ovie Ejaria as well as striker Sam Baldock could all be available for selection for the next match at home to Preston North End on Saturday, March 30.

However, Saeid Ezatolahi and Jordan Obita are still ruled out with long-term injuries.