Wallaby centre Pat McCabe is set to play his first Super Rugby fixture since last summer after he was given the all clear for this weekend.
The 25-year-old hasn’t featured in the southern hemisphere’s premier club competition since the Brumbies’ final game of last season on July 14.
McCabe suffered a serious neck injury in November, fracturing his C1 vertebra in training ahead of Australia’s win over England at Twickenham.
He returned to action at the beginning of March but his initial comeback was shortlived after he lasted just over half an hour playing for the Brumbies’ second XV against Tonga.
McCabe damaged his hamstring after throwing himself into contact against hugely physical opposition and has missed another three rounds of Super Rugby as a result.
But Brumbies boss Jake White says his star midfielder is now finally available for selection, with the former Springbok boss seriously considering starting him against the Southern Kings on Friday night.
"Pat is fine, he's pulled up nicely so in all likelihood he'll be involved this week and that's positive for us," said White, whose team top the Australian Conference and the Super Rugby table as a whole with five wins from six games.
"If he's good enough to go, he should be good enough to start.
"It just depends on who we select against the Kings in terms of combinations.
"We haven't had (in-form full back) Jesse (Mogg) for two weeks, so to get a guy like Pat McCabe back is fantastic.
"We're in a really good space…the nice thing if you get a guy like Pat McCabe back is that it’s not bad going into this part of the campaign."
McCabe’s return is also a big boost for the Wallabies as he remains a firm favourite with head coach Robbie Deans.
A hugely influential figure with plenty of rugby intelligence, McCabe was included in the Wallabies’ five-man leadership group in 2012 despite it being only his second full season with the team.
He became the inadvertent centre of attention when his elevation to a starting role at the beginning of 2011 signaled the end of former national hero Matt Giteau’s Test career and is expectedly to play a pivotal role when the Lions head Down Under in June and July.