Wallaby skipper Rocky Elsom should finally return from injury later this month.
The inspirational blindside has endured a frustrating season to date, missing six months of action before making a short-lived comeback in late May.
Having recovered from a chronic hamstring injury picked up at the end of 2010, Elsom then damaged an ankle playing for the Brumbies against Western Force five weeks ago.
It was initially thought that the latest setback could rule the 28-year-old out for months rather than weeks but Elsom himself insists he hopes to be back in action when Australia host Samoa on July 17.
''I can't see any reason why I wouldn't be fit for the Samoan Test,'' Elsom told The Sun-Herald.
''It's almost been five weeks now and, for once, everything has gone to plan. I've had no complaints with it at all, other than the standard ones.''
Elsom has started running and lifting weights with no obvious problems to date and he is confident things will continue to progress smoothly over the next fortnight.
He is yet to fully test the ankle in a number of rugby-related exercises but he sees no reason why he should not be captaining his country once again in the first international of Australia’s season.
''I've been running pretty well,'' added Elsom, who initially had his leg locked in a protective ‘moon boot’.
''It's the syndesmosis ligament that holds the ankle together and as soon as I could start running again, I've just been doing that. As long as I can tolerate it, that's the best stuff.
''The fact that I was pretty well over my hamstring injury when I did this was a big help, and the hamstrings feel pretty good, too. I'm just getting into bigger and bigger loads and I'm handling that pretty well.
''They say the calf stretch is important too, and running is the best for that. I'm running OK but there are still progressions to be made to that, like changing direction and that sort of thing. I haven't quite done that yet. But things seem reasonably straightforward.
''My goal was Samoa but it was really a wait-and-see because one ligament was damaged pretty badly and you never know how that is going to recover. But after the first few weeks, it's gone pretty well.''