All Blacks flanker Sam Cane has been cleared for contact, after fracturing his neck for the All Blacks against South Africa last October.
The incumbent test openside is considered a potential All Blacks skipper, but his rugby future has hung in the balance, since he collided awkwardly in a ruck at Pretoria.
But the latest prognosis has him firmly on track to return to the Chiefs before the end of the Super Rugby season.
"He's been cleared for contact sessions," confirmed Chiefs coach Colin Cooper. "He had a little bit of contact yesterday and we'll manage him through some contact over the next two weeks, then take it from there.
"He's excited to be back. It's been a tough journey for him, but as co-captain, he's been playing a key part in making sure there's some accountability and honesty among us as coaches and players.
'He's had a role there."
Cooper said Cane may play club rugby before returning to the Chiefs line-up, possibly off the bench initially.
In Cane's absence, All Blacks teammate and rival Ardie Savea has played the house down for the Hurricanes, capped by his two-try performance in their stunning win over the Highlanders last Friday.
But if he's recovered from his injury, Cane would still be first-choice All Blacks number seven at this year's Rugby World Cup in Japan, with Savea filling a utility role off the bench.
Join us at 7:30pm Saturday for live updates of the Chiefs vs Blues Super Rugby clash.