The German centre-back was sidelined for the weekend's 4-0 loss to Everton after having minor surgery on his knee but the Potters expect him back by Christmas which has Hughes beaming.
"We're really pleased. It's as good as we could have hoped for. We didn't know the extent of the injury until the surgeon actually went in and had a look," he said.
"He found an issue with the knee that needed addressing and repairing and that's been done. By all accounts prior to the operation, the best-case scenario was what we found.
"Thankfully, if everything goes well, he could be back in three or four weeks.
"Knowing Robert, he continues to surprise me in terms of how well he gets back from little niggles and he will always put his hand up if there's any opportunity to play.
"That's a great trait that he has. Maybe in the past it has been to his detriment because he's probably played and compromised himself."
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