The defender was forced off in last weekend's defeat against Leicester City after suffering a minor reccurrence of the back injury that had kept him out of the first few months of the season.
Although unlikely to feature in this weekend's FA Cup Fourth Round game away to Crystal Palace, it is believed the 28-year-old will be back playing sooner than the anticipated four week time frame.
"Ryan is quite positive at the moment actually, he feels a lot better within himself and the area of the injury seems to be settling down," the Potters boss said in his pre-match press conference.
"Initially we said he would be out for up to a month at the most, but we hopefully he will be back sooner.
Meanwhile, Hughes gave an update on Charlie Adam and Marko Arnautovic after both picked up knocks during the mid-week Capital One Cup loss at Liverpool.
The Welshman added: "Charlie unfortunately has a pretty bad tear in his calf. We think it's he will be out for 5-6 weeks and that's a big blow for us and for him.
"We will have to compensate for that, but we have a good group of players with good ability so we should be fine.
"Marko is a little bit sore. He didn't train today so we will check him on Friday to see whether he will be available."