Newcastle United winger Hatem Ben Arfa is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a double leg break.
The 23-year-old Frenchman, on loan from Marseille, looked unlikely to play again this season after being hurt in a controversial challenge from Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong.
But Ben Arfa has been working hard at a rehabilitation centre in his native France, and could return to training with the Magpies in February.
His representative, Simon Stainrod, told The Journal: “Hatem is doing really, really well.
“He's working really hard and he's in a centre where they work intensively from Monday to Friday on the injury and it is definitely helping him to make plenty of progress.
“I think from the original prognosis, it's going to be much, much better than that. You can never tell 100% but hopefully he's going to be back in the first week of February, which is just fantastic. It could be later, it could be earlier but that's better than anyone thought.
“The club doctor came from Newcastle to see him last week and he was really delighted with Hatem's progress. He's working hard and there are a group of specialists working with him - he's really in the best place.
“He's working on his strength and that is the next step, but he's dedicated and he's absolutely determined to get back in a Newcastle shirt and repay the supporters for their support through all this.”