Pablo Zabaleta, who has been on compassionate leave, is in contention for a Manchester City recall this weekend.
The Argentine has spent the last three weeks back in his homeland after being informed that his father had been involved in a serious car crash.
City put no pressure on the versatile defender to rush back, aware that his family concerns must come first.
They have, however, welcomed him back to training on Tuesday, with his father having come out of his coma and been taken off the critical list.
In his absence, City have picked up mixed results from fixtures against Reading, Dynamo Kiev and Chelsea.
Despite having missed three important games, there is every chance Zabaleta will be returned to the fold against Sunderland on Sunday.
He has figured in 37 of City's 46 games in all competitions this season and is considered to be an important part of Roberto Mancini's squad.
It is likely he will be drafted back in at right-back against the Black Cats, with injuries having left the Blues short in that area.
"In a week that Roberto Mancini has lost Micah Richards and Jerome Boateng to injuries picked up while on international duty, Zaba's return will be a welcome boost ahead of what is a crucial game in the Blues' bid for Champions League football," read a statement on City's official website.
"Pablo has expressed his thanks for all the messages of support he's had from City fans during what has been a very difficult time for his family."