The surgeon who operated on Ousmane Dembele has confirmed reports that the Barcelona forward is in contention to make his comeback from injury in time for December's hotly-anticipated El Clasico showdown with Real Madrid.
Club-record signing Dembele was struck down by injury just 30 minutes into his first La Liga start for Barca, initially seeing him ruled out until the second half of the season.
Speculation in the Spanish press earlier this week suggested that Dembele is ahead of schedule on the comeback trail, however, with a return before December 22 - the first Clasico league clash of the season - a possibility.
Asked to provide an update on the Frenchman's recovery process, surgeon Sakari Orava told Cadena SER: "It is going quicker than expected. He has already said he wants to come back before the planned date.
"But we don't know if that will be possible. Maybe, [he could face Madrid,] maybe, but I can't assure you of anything. Right now, he is training in the sandpits that Barca have and I think that, by the middle of November, he'll be able to touch a ball again.
"If he did too much now there would be a risk of a relapse but, if he takes things calmly, everything will be okay."
Dembele featured three times for Barcelona in all before damaging his hamstring in the 2-1 win against Getafe on September 16.