Luka Modric and James Rodriguez are expected to return to Real Madrid's training sessions in the coming days, easing the La Liga leaders' injury crisis ahead of the trip to Celta Vigo on Sunday (5 February). Meanwhile, Zinedine Zidane revealed Gareth Bale is making good progress in his rehabilitation from an ankle injury, but the former Tottenham Hotspur star will still have to wait for his comeback.
Real Madrid have been badly hit by injuries at the start of 2017 after Raphael Varane, Modric, James, Dani Carvajal, Pepe, Marcelo and Luka Modric all joined long-term absentee Bale in the treatment room.
However, Varane recovered for Sunday's 3-0 victory over Real Sociedad and the boss expects Modric and James to follow in his footsteps and be available for the weekend trip to Vigo.
"We hope to have Luka Modric back next week, but I can't say when. It's the same with James," the Real Madrid boss confirmed in his press conference after the win over the Basque side.
Meanwhile, Zidane also provided a positive update on the recovery of Bale, but admitted the game against Celta will come too early for the Wales international.
The former Tottenham star is yet to play a game since sustaining an ankle injury during the Champions League victory over Sporting on 22 November. The Real Madrid ace was subsequently forced to undergo surgery and reports at the time suggested he could be out of action for between three and four months.
Zidane said the Wales star has already entered the final phase of his rehabilitation, but added that Real Madrid will not rush his recovery as they want him to be fully fit for the business end of the season.
"Gareth is going to take a little longer but he is already training on the field with his boots on and that's a good sign. We have to take it step by step and not rush him", the Real Madrid boss added.
Elsewhere, Zidane expressed his delight over the victory against Real Sociedad following a complicated week that saw Los Blancos wave goodbye to the Copa del Rey with a defeat to Celta Vigo.
However, the win over the Basque outfit allowed Real Madrid to increase the gap at the table to four points after Barcelona and Sevilla slipped up in their respective encounters with Real Betis and Espanyol.
"This is an important win for us. In the wake of a tough few days we're once again doing what we do best. It was a strong all-round performance against difficult opposition. We managed to get the three points and keep a clean sheet, which was also important. It has been a good night because our nearest rivals all drew or lost," Zidane said after Barcelona were held to a controversial 1-1 draw by Betis, while Sevilla lost at Espanyol.
"It gives us added motivation because when you see that one of your rivals has dropped points that makes you even more eager to do the job and that's something we talked about. The most important things was to focus on ourselves and we managed to win," Zidane added.
"We have extended our lead. Our opponents have dropped points and we're now four points in front. There'll be difficult times ahead but we must enjoy this victory now."