British & Irish Lions back row Tom Croft is finally on the comeback trail but he may still miss the end of an injury-ravaged season, according to club boss Richard Cockerill.
The 28-year-old, who started in the Lions’ series-opening 23-21 win in Brisbane last summer, has missed the majority of this season with a knee injury.
He has managed just one Premiership appearance with Leicester Tigers, as the club seek to retain their crown.
The Tigers can confirm a playoff spot this weekend and director of rugby Cockerill revealed on Wednesday that Croft is close to a return to action for the final run-in.
However, the Leicester boss also tempered expectations, admitting it is touch-and-go at this stage as to whether Croft will see any game time before the end of the season.
"Tom Croft has trained fully Monday and yesterday," Cockerill told the Leicester Mercury. "We will see how he reacts to that.
"He has always told me he will be back before the end of the season but the season might beat him.
"It depends how many games we have got left. He will not play on Saturday."