All Black flanker Sam Cane's playing comeback from a shocking neck injury could begin against the Blues in Auckland this Saturday.
Chiefs coach Colin Cooper said Cane was "going really well" and his comeback "could be this week or next".
The Chiefs play the Reds in Hamilton next week.
Cane suffered a neck break during a test in South Africa last October, meaning a race against time to find his form and fitness for this year's World Cup.
The 27-year-old was operated on in Pretoria, with two vertebrae being fused together and wrapped in metal. Specialists reported there was no nerve damage.
He was in a neck brace for six weeks, and at a crucial recovery point a scan revealed the bone had healed.
With 60 tests under the belt, Cane has expressed confidence in his chances of a comeback saying the hard testing work will have been done in training.
But no one really knows just yet. And Cane has admitted it could be a "mental challenge" rather than a physical one.
Meanwhile, All Black lock Brodie Retallick's return from a wrist injury, initially scheduled for the Reds game, has been put back until the following Super Rugby clash against the Crusaders.
Chiefs forward Taleni Seu has been ruled out for the season with a wrist injury.