Renowned Colorado-based surgeon Dr Richard Steadman told the midfielder his knees were in a worse state than he had ever come across in 35 years of practicing.
Related ArticlesHargreaves return a painful oneManchester United freeze ticket pricesKlinsmann backs Rooney for European accoladePremier League predictionsGarrido: Tevez is Man City's RooneyRibery fit to face United in Champions LeagueAnd, although Hargreaves has reported a vast improvement, he still experiences discomfort and there is a chance he will never be fully clear of the problem.
''I wouldn't say I am pain free and I don't know if I can play through it,'' he said.
''My training has improved over the last weeks and that is a very positive sign for me. I believe that it will continue to improve and progress.
''But I am still in the process of getting some injections to try to manage the pain because if I didn't have any I would have played at the beginning of the season.''
That Hargreaves finds himself now on the brink of a return to meaningful action is testament to his determination and mental resolve and the Canadian-born England international always remained optimistic he would ultimately return, despite understandably being faced with doubts.
''It is only human to think that way,'' he admitted. ''The longest injury before that was when I broke my leg at Bayern Munich and I was out for a couple of months.
''Football is a physical game and injuries are part of it. But I could never imagine having one that has impacted on me so much.
''I thought everyone thought I would be fit for the start of the season. It didn't materialise.
''It has been a pretty humbling experience and I am sure many people doubted me, but anybody who knows me, knows that what I set my mind to, I get.''
One thing Hargreaves, and Fabio Capello, may wish for is for the midfielder to be fit enough to join England's World Cup party in South Africa this summer.
Though time is against him Hargreaves, who has been in contact with the Italian during his spell on the sidelines, would be a welcome addition to the squad, though first he is focusing on club matters and becoming the player that brought him to United's attention in the first place.
''I had better get there,'' he said. ''I am not coming back to just be one of the guys and fill a spot.
''I have never been that way and, if that was case, I would rather walk away.
''I am coming back to have an impact.''