Raphael Varane is seen as in a crucial stage of his recovery from knee trouble, with the coming period set to determine if surgery is required.
The Frenchman has struggled with the joint in his right knee ever since returning in October, having spent five months on the sidelines following surgery on a torn meniscus.
Unable to play two games inside a week due to the knee reacting and becoming inflamed, the youngster was originally given a period of rest from first-team activity and strenuous training to try to settle the issue.
With this original period of 10 days extended from mid-November to include the holiday break, the 20-year-old is now seen as entering a crucial moment to see if his knee can respond to more active use.
Medical staff will assess Varane and determine whether or not the conservative course of action is working, or if the player requires surgical intervention.
Yesterday the defender, in the squad’s return to training after Christmas, once more worked away from his teammates in the gym.
Gareth Bale also worked yesterday in the gym, seen to be still carrying the legacy of a calf injury sustained before the winter break.