Ryan Yates is well down the road to recovery at Nottingham Forest, but what does the future hold for an academy graduate?
The 21-year-old has been laid low since the summer.
A memorable breakthrough season in 2018-19 has been followed by a frustrating period to forget.
Yates is yet to show Sabri Lamouchi what he is capable of.
A return to training has been made, but full fitness and sharpness is yet to be restored.
Which is to be expected after undergoing knee surgery.
Lamouchi has said in the Nottingham Post: “Ryan Yates will be back, for sure, during the international break. Yesterday and today, he had a great session, so he will be with us very soon.”
The decision was taken to send Yates under the knife as a long-standing issue was holding him back.
Action was required, but it has done Yates few favours.
Once a prominent figure under Martin O’Neill, it remains to be seen where he sits on the depth chart with Lamouchi at the helm.
Sweeping judgement at this stage would suggest some way down.
Part of the problem when taking in enforced absences is that others get the chance to flourish in your place.
When it comes to midfield graft at the City Ground, Ben Watson and Samba Sow are now the go-to men.
John Bostock is also capable of occupying a deep-lying post, with his passing ability and goal threat from distance arguably edging him ahead of Yates.
There is then Alfa Semedo to inject energy and buccaneering bursts through the middle of the park.
Joao Carvalho and Tiago Silva bring a healthy dose of creativity, while Joe Lolley, Albert Adomah and Sammy Ameobi fill wide berths.
Where does Yates fit?
There is no obvious role for him, which could lead to an alternative approach being taken.
He needs games, that is a given, and will want them at this developmental stage of his career.
It may be that he has to look for those minutes elsewhere.
Loan spells have been taken in before at Barrow, Shrewsbury, Notts County and Scunthorpe.
You only need to look at Joe Worrall to see the benefits which can be found in the loan system.
Yates may be best advised to follow the lead of a fellow home-grown star.
Get out, play well, build confidence and return to Trentside ready to stake a serious claim for a starting berth.
It is difficult to argue against that.
Fate may, of course, play into Yates’ hands and an opportunity could open up at Forest once he is back in contention.
If it doesn’t, though, then a bigger picture needs to be looked at and that may involve heading down a path away from NG2 once more.