Nemanja Vidic could make a surprise comeback in Manchester United's Champions League tie with Cluj on Wednesday.
Vidic has been out since September after undergoing knee surgery but United manager Sir Alex Ferguson revealed on Friday his captain had returned to training and an appearance against Cluj was a possibility.
"It would be nice for him to play on Wednesday," said Ferguson. "We are not afraid of that."
However, there was less good news about Portugal winger Nani, who has been missing since the beginning of the month with a hamstring injury.
"Nani is going to be out for a longer spell, possibly another four or five weeks," said Ferguson.
The United manager also confirmed Antonio Valencia would miss Saturday's trip to Reading with a hip injury.
The news about Vidic raises the tantalising prospect of the Serbian getting a competitive appearance under his belt prior to the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium on December 9.
Vidic has endured a torrid 18 months. After suffering a calf injury that kept him out for over two months at the beginning of last season, the 31-year-old then ruptured cruciate ligaments against Basle in December that prevented him from playing again in the entire campaign.
Vidic returned in pre-season but after only five games he complained of feeling tightness in the knee again and after a further examination was forced to undergo surgery in the middle of September.
"He has started training, which is good news," said Ferguson. "He has not been involved in the real competitive part but he has done OK."