Wolves winger Michael Kightly has taken a step closer to full fitness after undergoing a second successful knee injury.
The 24-year-old could be available for selection by the tail end of February after his latest episode under the knife.
Kightly has now undergone operations on both knees in a bid to cure inflammation of his patella tendons.
Wolves have been without the wide-man since November of last year, but his encouraging recovery means he could feature in their fight against the drop.
Mick McCarthy told the Birmingham Evening Mail: "He is buzzing. It will be the same timescale as the last one - six weeks to get him out running and then we will see from there.
"The first knee he had done is brilliant, he is really buzzing about it and the left knee that he has just done wasn't half as bad as the other one."
His recovery rate has given hope to the idea that he could earn a place in McCarthy's 25-man squad that will be named in January.
"I don't know as we will have 25 players," McCarthy added. "It might be that I leave one berth open. We will see. It would be lovely to have him back."
On skipper Karl Henry, who suffered a setback in his recovery from a knee ligament injury, McCarthy added: "Karl is ticking along, keeping himself fit. He will be fit when he is fit.
"I have had medial knee ligament injuries and you seem to prepare and get a really good response and think you'll be playing quickly.
"Then the healing process slows down. You get to thinking that 'it is not as bad as I thought' and that's fine - that's the first couple of weeks.
"Then it is still like that for the next couple of weeks. You don't need to get any improvement. I don't know why. It's just the nature of the beast I guess."
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