West Ham defender Winston Reid could make his long-awaited comeback in an Under-23s fixture next week, after spending 19 months on the sidelines.
The 31-year-old has not played in a competitive fixture since he was knocked unconscious against Swansea at the Liberty Stadium in March 2018, awkwardly twisting his knee in the process.
Since then, Reid has suffered setback after setback after setback in his rehabilitation, eventually having to undergo knee surgery in an effort to rescue his career.
Now, the Evening Standard report that Reid could take part in an Under-23s fixture next week, having resumed training with the younger Hammers. He did take part in three pre-season games, but the club have been wary about rushing him back too quickly after such a prolonged spell out.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, ahead of West Ham's clash with Everton at Goodison Park, manager Manuel Pellegrini admitted that he hoped Reid would be able to return to the fold shortly.
“We must pray that he will not have any other injuries. He has had a long time without playing and deserves to try to return to his career.”
Reid himself has previously spoken of how he's had to adjust to what his body is now able to do, and how remaining positive has helped him in his recovery.
“I don’t have any pain or anything, which is was obviously the main concern," Reid told West Ham's official website in July, prior to his latest setback.
“When you’ve been out for a long time, as it takes time for your body to get back into rhythm, I guess, and get used to doing football movements. There is only so much gym work and running and drills you can do. You have to go out and train every day and take it slow.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s tough not being able to play football and being out for a long time and all, but it was an injury I couldn’t do anything about and there are people in far worse situations than I was."
West Ham have enjoyed a generally positive start to the season, losing only two of their opening eight Premier League games. Reid may be missing for the trip to Goodison Park, but the Hammers will be keen to re-integrate a player who has made 222 appearances for the club over 10 seasons.