Everton defender Phil Jagielka has been given permission to resume training with a football.
Jagielka enjoyed a tremendous 2008/9 campaign with the Toffees but his season was cut short in April when he suffered a serious knee injury.
He ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament and it has been a long process to recover fully from the surgery.
But Jagielka has now taken a significant step forward and head physio Mick Rathbone is delighted with his progress.
The versatile 27-year-old will now concentrate on building up his fitness before making a possible first-team return in the middle of November.
"We are very pleased with Phil and he is doing some good quality ball work now," said Rathbone.
"When we talk about the recovery time from a cruciate injury the absolute minimum is six months.
"The surgeon will not let a player go into any type of contact work for at least six months then you have to add on time to build up fitness and play in a few reserve games.
"So you are looking at over seven months for a quick comeback."