Patrick McBrearty is targeting a Croke Park return with Donegal later this month.
McBrearty, an All-Star nominee in 2019, was back in training last week having been in America for the previous two months.
There had been fears that the Kilcar man would sit out the duration of Donegal’s League campaign, but a return to action is on the horizon.
Donegal face Dublin on February 22 at Croke Park in round 4 of the League.
“Patrick is realistically looking at the Dublin game to come back,” Donegal manager Declan Bonner said.
“He has come back in good nick. He has looked after himself and has done a lot of work while he was away.
“It lifted everyone, Patrick coming back. It’s natural with a player of that calibre. He’s one of the top players in the country. We’re hoping now that he will stay injury free.”
Bonner is without a host of players who are unlikely to feature in the League.
Paddy McGrath, Kieran Gillespie and Carndonagh’s Conor O’Donnell are continuing their recoveries from cruciate ligament injuries, while Jason McGee, Oisin Gallen and Paul Durcan are also on the long-term injury list.
Like McBrearty, Daire Ó Baoill and Caolan McGonagle hope to be in contention for the trip to Dublin.
Donegal take on Galway in Letterkenny this Sunday and Hugh McFadden has emerged as an injury doubt having been forced off last weekend against Meath.
With several of his front-line soldiers unavailable, Bonner has challenged their replacements to step up.
He said: “If we see players standing up and showing, that could make a decision for us. We want to see players going: ‘I’m showing well here and I want a jersey’.
“People outside of the group look at us from game to game, but for us the most important thing is the next training session. Players know that we base the team on training.
“We always want to bring new men in. We have done that over the last couple of years. Look at Oisin Gallen and Odhrán McFadden-Ferry, who played in the Championship last year. We have to continue to do that.
“Frank (McGlynn) and Leo (McLoone) are gone now and everything moves on. We need to bring quality players through. Young lads are stepping up, but there will be bigger tests for them.”