Denis Buckley is in line to make his first appearance in eight months this weekend, with Connacht confirming he is "available for selection" for Saturday's United Rugby Championship visit of Glasgow Warriors (live on RTÉ2).
The 31-year-old hasn't played since suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in their Rainbow Cup meeting with Benetton in May of last year, picking up the injury just minutes into what was his 200th game for the province.
Buckley has been integrated back into training in recent weeks and now looks set to step back into first team action.
"It's a massive boost," senior coach Peter Wilkins said of Buckley's expected return.
The province have been light on front row depth in recent weeks, with Buckley among five senior props who were unavailable for Sunday's narrow defeat to Stade Francais in Paris.
Wilkins added that Buckley's presence would have been vital at Stade Jean-Bouin, as well as the previous week's defeat to Leicester Tigers.
"Certainly, in terms of personnel you want on the field, there's merits to having the young guys come in in the last 20 minutes with the enthusiasm and energy they bring, but also you're grateful if you have some experienced heads out there.
"It's not just their knowledge of the game but also their knowledge of being in those tight finishes, and how they can manage their own part of the game, their own part of the team, but also the composure and the messaging that they can spread to some other guys.
"There's enormous positives around that, Denis has worked enormously hard to get back to full fitness, and has done so in a really good timeframe. it's a massive boost to have him available.
"It's a testament to the work that Denis has done, but also the medical and support staff behind the scenes.
"You never like to see someone with long term injuries, and it's always a great challenge for them - not just from the physical perspective - but how they manage that time and state of mind when they work back to being available for selection.
"I know for him, until he's selected and plays a game and gets those minutes under his belt, it won't quite close the loop on it, but he's certainly getting very close to that and we're really excited for him.
Saturday's meeting with Glasgow will see a familiar face return to the Sportsground, with Nigel Carolan (below) currently an assistant to Danny Wilson at the Warriors.
Carolan departed his home province after 17 years last summer, and he's seemingly made a good impact at Scotstoun, with Glasgow fourth in the table and six points ahead of the western province.
"From what we've seen of Glasgow they've been true to their identity in terms of the last few seasons that they want to run the ball, they want to play with possession they want to work you around and identify space," Wilkins added.
"We're expecting to be up against a possession team, a team that kicks less and shorter than our opponents in the last few weeks with Stade and Leicester.
"It'll be a great challenge, two teams that want to play rugby and be in possession of the ball. It's not just about the battle for possession, it's also about how efficient you are with it. It shapes for a really exciting game."