Nemanja Vidic has been pictured doing ball work in training with Manchester United for the first time in over seven months.
The club captain ruptured his cruciate ligaments in the Champions League defeat to Basel in December, and his absence was sorely felt by a porous United defence.
Vidic, 30, played just 10 times for United last season, yet they kept clean sheets in six of those games, with his performances in the 1-0 away wins at Everton, Swansea City and Aston Villa outstanding.
His return is a welcome boost to Sir Alex Ferguson, however there has been no clarification over Vidic's participation in the club's pre-season programme.
The retired Serbian international signed for United from Spartak Moscow in January 2006 for £7m and has emerged as one of the club's greatest defenders in living memory.
Vidic was made captain on a permanent basis in 2010 and has made 255 appearances for the Old Trafford club, scoring 17 goals in the process.