Stuart O’Keefe is targeting a comeback by the end of the month to boost Pompey’s sparse midfield options.
The 26-year-old has been sidelined since mid-December following separate groin injuries sustained against Bury.
I’ve had a few injuries in my time, but not one of this scaleStuart O’Keefe
Danny Rose broke his leg three matches later – and Kenny Jackett has been crucially short of central-midfield experience ever since.
However, earlier this week O’Keefe was back running, with the hope of working outside next week.
And the Cardiff City loanee is pencilling in a return to Pompey action at the end of March.
He told The News: ‘It has been positive, the last couple of weeks especially.
‘I feel really good in myself and hopefully working towards the end of March. I saw the surgeon on Tuesday for the six-week post-op and my rehab is on track.
‘Now I have come out of that I can really step it up.
‘I want to be back training at least by the end of the month.
‘It was an adductor tear in my groin which we treated after the Bury game but there was also something acute in there which really wasn’t sitting well with me.
‘I could feel something else as well, so we had a rescan in London and there was a tear in the fibrocartilage. It had pretty much come off the bone.
‘Professor Schilders, a specialist in groins at the Fortius Clinic, wanted to do it straight away because it needed reattaching.
‘That is why it has been quite a long process but that’s life I guess. It’s sorted now.
‘We actually watched the video back over and over again.
‘When it happened I was trying to dig the ball out. It was an awkward position for my body to be in.
‘I have started running this week, could possibly be outside next week but won’t be back with the group for a couple of weeks yet.
‘Then, depending on that, I will know how far away I am and possibly need a reserve game and training match to test it. Then we will see.’
O’Keefe has scored twice in 19 appearances since arriving from Cardiff in August.
Injury struck after reclaiming a first-team spot for three successive matches.
It has sidelined him for 14 Blues fixtures so far, with Jackett initially expecting an absence until mid-April.
But the former Palace man is closing in on a March return.
He added: ‘I’ve had a few injuries in my time but not one of this scale.
‘I have got a good team around me and have to focus on getting back and possibly having a strong end to the season.
‘I’m pleased the surgery was done in a way because if we had left it, left it and left it, it would have gone into the summer not knowing if you would be staying on at Cardiff with my contract running down.
‘At least it’s fixed. I needed it to get sorted – and it has.’