Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas hopes to be back in action "in five or six weeks".
The Spain Euro 2008 winner suffered knee ligament damage after a challenge with Liverpool's Xabi Alonso in the Barclays Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium on December 21.
The 21-year-old has returned to the Gunners' training complex and wrote in his matchday programme notes ahead of the Premier League game against Sunderland: "The doctors have told me that in the next 10 days or so I can start touching the ball again. The most important thing is working on my legs to build them up, which will take another three weeks or so. Hopefully, in five or six weeks I will be back playing."
He added: "I am looking at the Manchester City game on April 4 as a realistic comeback date."
Fabregas, though, maintains he will not rush back into action unless he is completely match fit.
"The problem with this injury is that it is on my right knee and on the inside of the knee, and of course my game is a lot about passing," he added.
"I touch the ball 120 times per game, so all of the time I am using that leg.
"I have to make sure it is 100% cured before I come back.
The news of Fabregas' imminent return will come as a welcome boost to Gunners manager Arsene Wenger, who has already seen striker Eduardo battle back from a year out with a broken leg, while England winger Theo Walcott is another close to full fitness.
It is also hoped Czech international Tomas Rosicky could feature before the end of the season.
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