Edinburgh centre Nick de Luca could finally be back in action later this month.
The Scotland international has been out of action since June, when he suffered a groin injury in helping his country secure a famous win in the first match of the two-Test series in Argentina.
De Luca has so far missed all seven Magners League games this season, as well as both Heineken Cup encounters against Cardiff Blues and Northampton Saints.
But the 26-year-old insists he is now nearing a return to action and could even be back playing in the Scottish Premiership 1 within a matter of weeks.
"I've built up to the stage where I've just been able to do everything asked of me in training," De Luca told The Scotsman.
"As yet, games have been conditioned but full contact work is not far away now.
"I can see myself being made available to Heriot's under the release rule for pro players within the forthcoming Test window when Edinburgh aren't playing and we'll see where things go from there."
If that proves to be the case, De Luca could feasibly be back in Edinburgh colours by early December, with the Round 10 trip to the Ospreys a possible return date.
And while the 19-times capped back admits it’s been frustrating sitting on the sidelines, he knows that the lay-off will benefit his career in the long run.
"The injury was one of those I could have played through but by this time next year I could have been in pieces,” added De Luca.
"It was stopping me training and playing to the level I felt I could be at so a decision was taken to get things fixed. Basically there was some chronic wear and tear and my body was simply saying ' enough'.
"The lay off has been longer than anticipated but it's still the right decision.
"All being well, I might just miss around a third of a season; that's not much in comparison to Andrew Easson being out of the Edinburgh team for two years and Simon Webster's 12-month lay-off.
"Set against that background there is even less point in me moaning about misfortune."