Christian Benteke has been training in Dallas alongside his Aston Villa teammates, according to Mat Kendrick. The Belgian striker was ruled out for the World Cup and the end of the Premier League season after he injured his Achilles tendon in April. Initial reports suggested that it would take at least six months for him to return to full fitness, but the resumed training may be a sign that he is ahead of schedule.
In May, Benteke talked about being back sooner than was expected, but it seemed to be nothing more than optimism at the time. In Dallas he was apparently involved in light training while Paul Lambert led the rest of the squad in the main part of the day's session. It's not a full return to football activities, from what we can tell, but hearing that Benteke is doing anything a mere three months after the injury is good news.
If nothing else, this shoud allay fears that Benteke wouldn't return until the new year. The initial six-month diagnosis was the optimistic end of things and many people were worried that we'd not see the striker until at least Boxing Day. Having Benteke back would certainly be a boon for the club as he's undoubtedly their best attacking force. Here's hoping that today's news of practice is just the first in a long string of such stories.
UPDATE: From Twitter follower Paul Theiss comes this video of Benteke messing around with the ball yesterday. Not quite what I had envisioned, but I stand by what I said: seeing him doing anything is encouraging.