Rhys Webb: Ospreys scrum-half nearing return after ankle injury
Ospreys coach Steve Tandy says scrum-half Rhys Webb is "not far away" from a return for the European Challenge Cup game at Newcastle Falcons.
Webb, 27, had surgery after turning his right ankle in Wales' 32-8 defeat by Australia on 5 November.
A Welsh Rugby Union statement said he was expected to be out for 12 weeks, but Webb could feature on 21 January.
"He's going to be coming back into units this week. It won't be heavy. We'll be building him up," Tandy said.
Ospreys face Lyon at the Liberty Stadium on 15 January before travelling to Kingston Park six days later to face the Falcons.
"I don't think he'll be too far away for the second [European] game," Tandy continued.
"We need to make sure that when Webby comes back in, we manage him, do it appropriately and make sure his condition is up and running, not that that will be an issue.
"We need to make sure he's physically right and ensure he's at the forefront of the decisions we make."
Tandy said Webb, who spent much of the 2015-16 season on the sidelines after damaging ankle and knee ligaments in Wales' pre-2015 World Cup match against Italy, was eager to return.
"I've no doubt he will be probably asking for selection sooner than he will get it," Tandy added.
"We're pretty comfortable with our number nines at the minute with Tom Habberfield and Brendon Leonard, but it's always great to see someone like Webby."