Jonny Wilkinson could return to action for Newcastle Falcons against Harlequins on Sunday.
The England fly-half, plagued by a series of injuries since the World Cup, has not played for two months after damaging knee ligaments in Newcastle's European Cup tie against Perpignan.
Early estimates suggested Wilkinson might have been fit to play for England against Italy in the RBS 6 Nations at Twickenham.
Instead, he is set to take his place on the visitors' bench over the road at the Stoop after Newcastle's director of rugby Rob Andrew named him among 11 possible replacements.
With Newcastle enjoying only two games before they take on Stade Francais in the European Cup quarter-final, Wilkinson's inclusion in the list suggests he will be involved.
And just the whiff that Wilkinson could feature has helped ensure the match is a sell-out.
Should he come through without any negative reaction, Wilkinson might be in line for a first Test appearance since the World Cup final when England take on Scotland in their final RBS 6 Nations clash next weekend.
"Andy Robinson is the one who has to decide whether to reintroduce him to the set-up, be it as a bench player or whatever,'' said Andrew.
''That's somebody else's call, so all I can deal with is our game at Harlequins.''
The 2017 RBS 6 Nations was watched by record numbers of fans
29 March 2017, 12:25pm
After an enthralling RBS 6 Nations Championship of twists, turns, and no small amount of drama on the last day, figures show the RBS 6 Nations is going from strength to strength, year on year, with no sign of slowing down.