Ray of light for injury-ravaged star...Owen Hargreaves' surgeon believes the Manchester United player is close to playing competitively again.
The injury-plagued midfielder, who has spent nearly two years sidelined with tendonitis in his knee, thought he was on the road to recovery last season after playing 45 minutes in a reserve game in May.
It was hoped then he would play a significant role in the early stages of United’s 2010-11 season, and possibly challenge for a place in Fabio Capello’s squad for Euro 2012 qualifying.
However, after experiencing pain in the first stages of pre-season training, Hargreaves was sent to a specialist in Colorado for further rehabilitation work.
Richard Steadman, Hargreaves’ surgeon, now believes the United man is making good progress and is near to playing again.
"Things are looking good for Owen, it's all worked out," Steadman told the BBC.
"He's close to playing fitness, although it's obviously up to United to decide when he plays a match."
Steadman added that Hargreaves' injury was a complex and serious one, but he is pleased with the midfielder’s response to treatment, and determination to strengthen himself.
"The problem was with the tendon attached to the patella on each knee, which is difficult to resolve," he said. "After the surgery, the key was rest and working hard on recovery. Owen has spent a lot of time with us here in Colorado and he has never given up.
"The recovery was arduous and took a long time but his condition looks promising now."
Hargreaves is set to return to United’s Carrington training ground and his manager Sir Alex Ferguson will assess how best to speed up his recovery and decide whether to work him towards competitive matches.