Greig Laidlaw is nearing a return to fitness in time for Scotland’s Six Nations campaign, the scrum-half’s French club says.
Laidlaw, 32, suffered a broken fibula on European Champions Cup duty for Clermont in October.
The Top 14 outfit say Laidlaw should be ready for selection in “10-15 days”, with Scotland opening their championship in Wales on 3 February.
Laidlaw, capped 58 times, has not played a Test since last February.
He tore ankle ligaments in the Six Nations defeat by France and, in his absence, back-row John Barclay has captained the national team.
Ali Price has since cemented his position as Gregor Townsend’s first-choice number nine, with his pace and flair a key element of the high-tempo, off-loading rugby favoured by the Scotland boss.
The former Warriors head coach will name his squad for the Six Nations next Tuesday.
Laidlaw made six appearances on last year’s British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand after being called up in place of England’s Ben Youngs, but did not feature in the Test series.
His involvement with the touring squad meant the Borderer missed Scotland’s June meetings with Italy, Australia and Fiji.
Townsend, who succeeded Vern Cotter at Murrayfield in June, has fielded Price, 24, or fellow Glasgow Warrior Henry Pyrgos, 28, in each of his six Tests in charge.
With 22-year-old George Horne impressing at Scotstoun, scoring seven tries in nine games this season, and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Nathan Fowles, both 24, involved in a winning Edinburgh team, Townsend is not short of options for the number nine jersey.
Laidlaw, third on Scotland’s all-time points-scoring list with a haul of 582, has captained the national side on more occasions (31) than any other player.
His goal-kicking accuracy, leadership and game-management were vital to Cotter’s Scotland, and he was nominated for World Rugby’s Player of the Year award in 2015.