Middlesbrough captain Emanuel Pogatetz could be back in action before the end of the month.
The Austrian missed the end of last season as Boro were relegated from the Premier League after he had surgery on both knees.
He is now back in light training and with Robert Huth departing to Stoke just before deadline day, Boro will be anxious to get him back as soon as possible.
"Emanuel is now back on the training ground running," revealed coach Steve Agnew.
"He's looking good and is beginning to do more with the ball now. I'm not sure on timescale though, maybe in two or three weeks' time he'll return to playing."
Boss Gareth Southgate has stated that both Pogatetz and fellow injury victim Chris Riggott are as good as anything in the Championship, but whilst his captain is nearing a return - the news is not as good for the former Derby stopper, who has had surgery on his ankle.
"Riggs has had a couple of setbacks and he's still a fair way away from competitive football," confirmed Agnew.
With Huth gone and Pogatetz injured, David Wheater was handed the captain's armband at Bristol City and he could very well continue in that role.
"You could see what it meant to him when he was given the armband," Agnew continued.
"We all felt for David on the day though, he's a local boy, he loves the club and is a top player. I've captained many clubs and you do feel extra responsibility.
"I think David, at 22, is a future captain of the club and his play reflects that. I've seen maturity in David over the last six months, he's starting to talk a lot more on the pitch and has been taking more responsibility."