Owen Hargreaves' surgeon has suggested the injury-plagued Manchester United star will make his comeback in Saturday's Barclays Premier League encounter with West Brom.
It is now over two years since Hargreaves played a meaningful senior game for the Red Devils after he was struck down by an acute form of tendinitis in his knees, which he first experienced during his time at Bayern Munich.
Two operations and an extensive period of rehabilitation seemed to have put the 29-year-old back on track by the end of last season, when he completed 45 minutes in a reserve game and was then introduced as an injury-time substitute at Sunderland as United challenged for the Premier League title.
Yet the midfielder's hopes of being fit for the start of this season were wrecked when he experienced more discomfort after his return to training, and he was dispatched back to Colorado by Sir Alex Ferguson for more work with Dr Richard Steadman, who has built his reputation rescuing the careers of people like Ruud van Nistelrooy, who have ruptured cruciate ligaments.
Hargreaves is aware there cannot be many more attempts to salvage his career, and knew his return to England would probably represent his last try. But Steadman has spoken optimistically about the midfielder's recovery before, and has now revealed his latest first-team return is looming fast.
"Owen should play some part on Saturday," Steadman told BBC Sport. "Our physical therapist, Luke O'Brien, has been working very closely with United's coaches on his rehab. It's been a long road back and there have been some setbacks along the way. But I've got a lot of admiration for the way Owen has responded - he's worked very hard and has never given up. Things are looking good for him now."