Karim Benzema, Pepe, Casemiro and Sergio Ramos all stepped up their recoveries during Real Madrid's Thursday training session in a bid to be back available for the crucial derby with Atletico Madrid on 19 November. Meanwhile, Toni Kroos begun rehabilitation of the serious foot injury he sustained during the 3-0 La Liga win over Leganes in Germany.
Real Madrid are leading the table after 11 games, two points ahead of Barcelona and six ahead of Diego Simeone's side. Yet, the news from the treatment room has been less than positive for manager Zinedine Zidane in recent times.
Luka Modric only returned to action against Leganes following a long-term spell on the sidelines, while Benzema, Pepe, Casemiro and Ramos all missed that game due to different injuries. Also, earlier this week it emerged that Kroos fractured the fifth metatarsal of his right foot during that game and is consequently expected to be out of action for around a month and a half.
But Zidane received some positive news from the Thursday training session after Benzema, Pepe, Casemiro and Ramos all stepped up their recoveries in the pitch.
Casemiro has yet to play a game since September after he was diagnosed with a fracture to the central third of his left fibula. However, Real Madrid revealed that the Brazilian returned to work with the ball on Thursday amid suggestions he could be available to face Atletico Madrid.
Meanwhile, Ramos's recovery from the knee injury he sustained during the last international break also looks on track as the captain was also able to play with the ball.
"Benzema, Pepe, Casemiro, Sergio Ramos and Kroos (in Germany) continued with their recovery processes," Real Madrid confirmed via their club website. "The first three of the aforementioned players went running out on the pitch and the Brazilian central midfielder trained briefly with the ball. The Whites' captain, also on the pitch, carried out a combination of ball work and physical work."
Regardless of whether the quartet are available for the game against Atletico, the news is a boost for Zidane as after the Madrid derby Los Blancos have some other key games, including a Champions League clash with Sporting Portugal on 22 November and the first El Clasico of the season at Barcelona (on 3 December).
However, Real Madrid added that Mariano and second keeper Kiko Casilla didn't train.
"Mariano, who has flu, and Casilla, with the coach's permission, did not train."
Meanwhile, Real Madrid have 14 first-team players away on international duty, in Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Isco, Nacho, Carvajal, Lucas Vazquez, Alvaro Morata, Kovacic, Luka Modric, Raphael Varane, Marcelo, James Rodriguez, Keylor Navas and Asensio.