The Crusaders could receive a major boost as they chase New Zealand Super Rugby conference bragging rights.
Coach Scott Robertson has confirmed to RadioLIVE that key playmaker Richie Mo'unga could return against the Brumbies on Saturday night in Canberra.
The All Black first-five broke his jaw in the second round of the competition against the Stormers in Christchurch.
The 23-year-old was expected to miss up to 10 weeks of action, but his coach said he is a 50-50 chance of coming back two weeks early.
"He had a little minor operation to tidy up something to do with the plate in his jaw, so we are going to make sure that it's all healed up," Robertson told Sunday Sport's Andrew Gourdie and Jim Kayes.
"If not against the Brumbies, then he will definitely go against the Melbourne Rebels in a fortnight."
Mo'unga's return marks another positive for the defending champions after Israel Dagg and Owen Franks played for the first time in 2018 against the Sunwolves on Saturday night.
The Crusaders ran out 33-11 victors on their way to leapfrogging the Hurricanes atop the New Zealand conference.