Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha could return from injury in time for Saturday’s clash at Chelsea .
The 25-year-old has been absent having strained knee ligaments during their 1-1 draw with Newcastle on February 4.
In his absence, Roy Hodgson’s team have lost every Premier League game he has missed.
It took until Monday's 3-2 defeat by Manchester United for them to score their first goals without Zaha from open play, but on Thursday he returned to first-team training - meaning he could yet feature at Stamford Bridge.
Palace's first points of the season came in October when Zaha returned from injury, also ahead of a fixture with Chelsea, to inspire an unexpected victory over the champions.
“He was able to join in with the team for the first time,” said a relieved Hodgson.
“Albeit in a modified session, which is enormous progress considering he's so far ahead of schedule. We have to be careful because it was a serious injury and, under normal circumstances, we wouldn't have expected him back this week.
“We'll see how he feels when he comes in (on Friday) and speak to him. We have to be very careful.
“He's had a ball at his feet for a while. He's been training on his own with the rehabilitation people and the physios, but was able to join in with the team (on Thursday) for the first time,
“He is (itching to get back involved). It will be a matter of discussing it with him, but also with the doctor and physios who have been looking after him for so long.
“It’s dangerous to ask footballers what they think because, if they're the type who want to play, they'll say they're okay.”
Zaha has scored four goals in the league this season, also contributing one assist.
Despite the Eagles sitting 18th in the Premier League, Hodgson is willing to be cautious with his star man.
“You can do yourself damage accepting that answer if it doesn't tie in with what everyone else at the club is saying. The initial prognosis was (he would be out until the) end of season, rather than six weeks.
“I would be delighted if it was possible for him to play any part on Saturday. It's still early days. What we definitely don't want to do is push him back too early and miss him at the end of the season.”