Stuart Holden's long road back from injury has reached its most encouraging step yet.
Bolton confirmed that the USA midfielder and the club's player of the year in 2010-11 has returned to training with the first team, albeit on a limited basis, after a lengthy rehabilitation process for his injured left knee.
"Stuart has been training one day on, one day off, which is great," Bolton manager Dougie Freedman told the club's official website.
Bolton is taking a cautious approach with Holden, who initially was injured in March 2011 on a tackle by Manchester United defender Jonny Evans as both were going for a loose ball. Holden returned to action briefly last September only for a follow-up procedure revealing that he had damaged cartilage that required further surgery and rehabilitation.
Holden's checkered injury past also includes a broken leg that he suffered in March 2010 after a Nigel de Jong tackle in a Netherlands-USA friendly.
"The problem we have, and I do stress this to everyone, is that Stuart has been out for a long time and there will be absolutely no rush from the coaches' point of view," Freedman said. "He is training with us on every second day. He is looking nice and fit, and his sharpness will come. He is such an enthusiastic lad, and he is great to have around. I have tried to encourage Stuart to get around the place, which is good for us.
"But we are still a couple months away from seeing Stuart, let's not kid ourselves, but we are looking forward to that."
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