St Johnstone's Brian Easton is "about two weeks away" from returning to action after missing the entirety of 2018 injured, says boss Tommy Wright.
The defender, 30, has featured in two reserve games and is close to making his comeback after 14 months out.
Wright praised Easton's positive attitude amid the "dark days".
"We've tried to help him as much as possible but in the main Brian's helped himself because he's a bit of a character," the manager said.
"He's not someone who gets down too often. "He's a bit of a joker in the pack, but there have been dark days for him."
Wright believes Easton has coped with well with the frustration of long-term injury, and says Scott Tanser has "done extremely well" in the defender's absence.
"It is difficult when you've been out for more than a calendar year, to come into work and not be able to do your job," he said.
"I've experienced it as well in my own career - you're in amongst the players and come 11 o'clock, every time you start training, everybody's away out and you're left on your own with the other injured players, and sometimes you're on your own with the physio.
"He'll provide tough competition to Scott and if anything was to happen to Scott, we'd have an experienced player I could trust."
Saturday's Scottish Premiership visit of Aberdeen will come too soon for Easton, but forwards Tony Watt and Michael O'Halloran are in contention after missing the Perth side's draw with Rangers through injuries.