Canberra coach David Furner says five-eighth and captain Terry Campese is very close to making his long awaited NRL return from a knee injury.
Campese, 28, has been sidelined since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee for the second time in the round seven clash against Brisbane last April.
Furner said while he didn't expect Campese to be ready for next week's clash against the Knights in Newcastle, he was very close.
"He has been training with the side doing pretty much everything," Furner said.
"We are just waiting for a couple of clearances there.
"I wouldn't say next week, but he's getting very close."
Rated amongst the top echelon of playmakers, the injury-dogged Campese has played only eight games since the Raiders' 2010 finals charge.
The Canberra-based club is desperate for the NSW Origin representative's return, finding themselves at the bottom of the NRL table following heavy defeats to Penrith and the Gold Coast.
But Furner said he wouldn't be rushing his star playmaker back, adding the club's two losses had stemmed from problems Campese himself couldn't have fixed.
"Even if Campo was in there, with the amount of possession that we gifted and didn't have ourselves, we could have had Johnathan Thurston and it wouldn't have made a difference," Furner said.
News of Campese's close return comes as Test prop Brett White and hooker Glen Buttriss return from injury to make their first NRL appearances for the season to take on St George Illawarra in Canberra on Sunday.