All Blacks playmaker Damian McKenzie is shaping for a return to action in next year's Super Rugby opener, with the Chiefs taking on the Blues at Eden Park on January 31.
McKenzie, 24, has been out of action since April after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament - coincidentally against the Blues, the same team he's planning to return against.
In his absence, the All Blacks struggled to have a real impact on this year's Rugby World Cup in Japan, falling to England at the semi-final stage and going on to finish third.
With the Chiefs having brought Aaron Cruden back to the club, McKenzie's return would be an exciting proposition heading into Super Rugby 2020 - the versatile livewire capable of world class performances in the 10 or 15 jersey.
Speaking to Radio Sport yesterday, Chiefs assistant coach Tabai Matson updated where McKenzie's at, with good news for fans heading into the new season.
"He's running and will be doing tackling all the way through December, and will be available at the start," Matson said.
"It's exciting to have a world class player of that calibre back in the mix for sure. It's great news for him and for us and for New Zealand Rugby.
"He's been one of our best for a long time. Nearly 80 games of Super Rugby and [he's only 24]. It's frightening that he's got a lot more to give."