Lawrence Dallaglio has been named in England's Six Nations training squad - almost 17 months after he quit international rugby.
But while the 33-year-old Wasps captain can look forward to possibly being involved in next month's tournament opener against Wales at Twickenham, there is fresh injury heartache for his fellow World Cup winner Phil Vickery.
Gloucester prop Vickery is out of the 36-man squad due to another back injury that now poses serious questions about his future career prospects.
Vickery, capped 47 times, has already undergone two back operations during an injury-ravaged career, and he is only too well aware that a similar problem ended the career of his former England and Gloucester front-row colleague Trevor Woodman.
While Vickery, who England have only officially ruled out of the February 4 clash with Wales, faces a difficult and uncertain few days, Dallaglio will relish linking up with the national squad at Loughborough University next week.
He quit the Test arena in August 2004, citing the "treadmill" nature of top-flight rugby.
Dallaglio has won 73 caps - only Jason Leonard, Rory Underwood and Martin Johnson have made more England appearances - and his last Test match was a 51-15 defeat against Australia some two months prior to his retirement, when he wore the captain's armband.
Having made clear a desire to savour the international scene again, Dallaglio's selection was pretty much inevitable once he had proved his fitness following a serious ankle injury that prematurely ended his Lions tour of New Zealand last summer.
Whether or not he makes the starting line-up against Wales is unclear, given that England head coach Andy Robinson has considerable back-row options, including the likes of a fit-again Joe Worsley, Lewis Moody, whose nine-week suspension expires later this month, and skipper Martin Corry.
Elsewhere, Robinson, who confirmed Corry as Six Nations captain, has selected uncapped Sale Sharks flanker Magnus Lund and recalled locks Alex Brown and Simon Shaw after they missed the autumn Tests through injury.
Jonny Wilkinson, Andy Farrell and Andy Hazell, meanwhile, were not considered because they are either injured or returning to full fitness.
Robinson welcomed Dallaglio's return to the England fold as the world champions step up their Six Nations preparations.
"It is great to be able to include Lawrence Dallaglio. He has done well for London Wasps, and his appetite to play for England again is huge," said Robinson.
"However, he knows as well as anyone that the back row is a massively competitive area and, like any player, he will need to work hard to be selected.
"Martin Corry will be the captain for the Six Nations. He was inspirational during the autumn, and we believe he is the man to lead England throughout the tournament."
If Robinson has it in mind to start with Dallaglio against Wales, then he will either field him at blindside flanker or number eight, with Corry switched to the number six jersey if he decides on the latter option.
Worsley, Moody and Worcester's Pat Sanderson are all firmly in the back-row frame as well though, so it will be intriguing to see how Robinson manages that area in selection.
"I am excited about the players we have available to us, and as coaches we are looking forward to working with them," Robinson added.
"I have selected a large squad because of the European Cup and Guinness Premiership games over the next two weekends, which may take their toll.
"We know that people drop out through injury, and it highlights the quality of players available that we have 36 who are all in contention for the game against Wales."
As for Vickery's latest injury blow, Robinson said: "We will, in conjunction with Gloucester, monitor Phil's progress over the next few weeks, but he will not be considered for the Wales game.
"I am disappointed for Phil, because he is an outstanding member of the squad and we hope to see him back soon."
England training squad for Six Nations Championship:
Backs: S Abbott (Wasps), O Barkley (Bath), B Cohen (Northampton), M Cueto (Sale), M Dawson (Wasps), H Ellis (Leicester), A Goode (Leicester), C Hodgson (Sale), J Lewsey (Wasps), J Noon (Newcastle), P Richards (Gloucester), J Simpson-Daniel (Gloucester), M Tindall (Gloucester), M van Gisbergen (Wasps), T Varndell (Leicester), T Voyce (Wasps).
Forwards: S Borthwick (Bath), A Brown (Gloucester), G Chuter (Leicester), M Corry (Leicester, captain), L Dallaglio (Wasps), L Deacon (Leicester), J Forrester (Gloucester), P Freshwater (Perpignan), D Grewcock (Bath), C Jones (Sale), M Lund (Sale), L Mears (Bath), L Moody (Leicester), P Sanderson (Worcester), S Shaw (Wasps), A Sheridan (Sale), M Stevens (Bath), S Thompson (Northampton), J White (Leicester), J Worsley (Wasps).