Dons boss Derek McInnes today confirmed Mark Reynolds is “flying” through his rehabilitation from a long-term knee injury and on course to return in January.
The 31-year-old has been sidelined since undergoing surgery in late July on a serious knee injury sustained in a friendly clash against Highland League side Cove Rangers.
Defender Reynolds is now running with Pittodrie physios during training sessions, though McInnes insists he will not be ready to return for the congested end to the year where the Reds play nine games in December.
However, the long-serving defender, who has racked up 237 appearances for the Dons over nine seasons, is on schedule to return after the winter break.
Reynolds’ return will boost the Reds’ centre-back options as, at the moment, Scott McKenna, Mikey Devlin and Andy Considine, who operates primarily at left-back, are the only experienced central defenders available.
Aberdeen face a sweat over the fitness of Devlin for the Betfred Cup final against Celtic on December 2, after he had to pull out of the Scotland squad for the Nations League ties with Albania and Israel having sustained a foot injury training with Alex McLeish’s squad.
McInnes said: “Mark is absolutely flying and is doing terrifically well.
“He keeps getting the go-ahead from the surgeon and has had that several times over the last wee while at different stages so that he can keep pushing on.
“They are extremely happy with him.
“The one thing with Mark is that he is so determined and committed to doing all the work.
“Rehabilitation from that type of injury isn’t easy. How you come back from that type of injury is normally how much you put into your rehab.
“Mark has given absolutely everything. He is out running, he is out doing the warm-ups with the other players.
“Mark is out running with physios when we are training. It is great to see him with his boots on and getting that step closer.
“There might be some set-backs along the way with that type of injury but it is all systems go. Mark has been fantastic and the physios could not be more pleased with him.”
Reynolds limped off just 12 minutes into the friendly with Cove Rangers. A scan revealed the extent of the damage and he subsequently underwent surgery in Glasgow.
That friendly was abandoned as Cove’s Jordon Brown, 25, suffered a serious head injury in an accidental collision with Dons defender Considine in the second half.
An ambulance was called, with spectators asked to leave, and Brown received treatment for more than 25 minutes.
The ex-Aberdeen youngster has gone on to make regular appearances for Cove this season.
“If Mark gets close round about January, in the winter break, to coming back then he has done extremely well,” said McInnes.
“It can be a seven to eight-month injury.
“Considering he did it in July, as good as Mark is doing and encouraged as we are, we still have to be careful.
“It is a serious injury and we have to treat it that way.”
Reynolds’ serious knee problem was the first set-back in what would become an injury crisis for Aberdeen in the early throes of this season. At one point, McInnes had eight players out injured.
Reynolds and on-loan Watford defender Tommie Hoban, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, are the only two long-term absentees for the Dons now.
Aberdeen are to assess the extent of the injury to Devlin that forced him to return from the Scotland squad.
McInnes said: “We did not have our troubles to seek with injuries. It was the worst injury situation since I have been at Aberdeen.
“With Mark, he had done all the pre-season work so to then get injured in a pre-season game sticks in the throat a wee bit.
“But that is the nature of the game and with injuries you can never foresee when they come.
“Thankfully we have dealt with them as a squad and Mark is dealing with his injury.”