Russell Anderson admits he would be keen to re-sign for Aberdeen, but concedes it will be 'months rather than weeks' before he is ready to play again.
The 33-year-old originally left Aberdeen for Sunderland in 2007 and is now a free agent after Derby County cancelled his contract by mutual consent.
The former Scotland international is currently sidelined by a hamstring injury, but is using Aberdeen's training facilities to aid his rehabilitation.
Dons boss Craig Brown is prepared to sign the defender, if he offloads a current member of his squad, but Anderson says his priority is regaining his fitness.
"I'd love to keep playing," said Anderson in the Daily Record. "I know there will be people out there who say, 'He's had too many injuries', so I just want to prove my fitness first and foremost and anything after that is a bonus.
"I am under no illusions that I need to prove myself all over again. I have a bit to go before I will be playing again. We're talking months rather than weeks.
"At the end of the day I'd like to play but sometimes that can be taken out of your hands.
"Everyone knows I'm from Aberdeen and the plan was always to come home at some stage but it's maybe come a bit quicker than I thought."
Meanwhile, current Dons captain Richard Foster would welcome any deal for the former skipper, saying: "It would be great for Aberdeen if Russell returned to the club. It would be great for the dressing room.
"I know he is injured at the moment but mentally he is very strong. He has come back from serious injuries before.
"It would give everyone a lift just having him around the place again.
"He was a good guy to have alongside you. If you made a mistake he more often than not bailed you out. He would encourage you and he would demand a high level of performance from you."