The Manchester United defender returned to training last week after two months out with a calf injury but was only expected to be ready to play Fulham next weekend.
But Ferdinand came through two training sessions unscathed and is now in contention to play at Stamford Bridge.
Unexpected return: Rio Ferdinand's last appearance was against Aston Villa (above)
His last appearance was in the 3-1 win over Aston Villa at Old Trafford on February 1 - in the 11 games he has missed United have lost three.
Ferdinand will take part in his first full contact training session on Tuesday and if there is no reaction to the injury he will start in the biggest game of United's season so far.
The calf injury has limited Ferdinand to just 19 appearances in all competitions this campaign - but United are undefeated in those games.
He has only appeared three times in Europe this season but his return would be a timely boost for United given the importance of the fixture.
Renewed partnership? Nemanja Vidic returned against West Ham (above)
The news further eases United's defensive problems - they now only have Rafael and John O'Shea out with hamstring injuries after Nemanja Vidic also returned to action against West Ham on Saturday following a calf injury.
The ex-England captain has been plagued by injuries in recent times - he has only played 40 games for United in the last two seasons and was forced to miss the World Cup and the first month of this season with a knee injury.
Ferdinand is eager to start but Sir Alex Ferguson may decide to name him among the substitutes and enable Chris Smalling to continue alongside Vidic.
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Explore more:People: Alex Ferguson, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, John O'Shea Places: United Kingdom, Europe