Worcestershire all-rounder Gareth Andrew has won praise from director of cricket Steve Rhodes for his efforts to get fit for the 2012 season.
Andrew, 28, had knee surgery at the end of last season and Rhodes told BBC Hereford and Worcester: "I have never seen a person work so hard in rehab.
"He deserves a break as he has worked so hard. He has a machine and he is often on it eight or nine hours a day.
"He is way ahead of schedule but the danger is him pushing it too early."
Andrew took 82 wickets and scored more than 1,000 runs in all competitions last summer and finished runner-up to Somerset batsman Marcus Trescothick in the overall Professional Cricketers' Association rankings.
"I can see him back batting earlier than we thought and maybe bowing earlier than we thought," Rhodes added.
"He won't be ready for the start of the season, but we hope he'll be ready just after the start of the season."
Worcestershire have also received positive news about wicketkeeper Ben Cox, who underwent an operation after injuring his hip while playing club cricket in Australia.
He is expected to be ready for the start of the season on 5 April.