Barcelona record signing Ousmane Dembele has taken a significant step in his recovery after being able to complete a part of the training session with the rest of his teammates on Wednesday (6 December). Forgotten midfielder Arda Turan was also given the medical clerance to return to action ahead of a busy months of December which will include a trip to Real Madrid on 23 December.
Dembele moved to the Nou Camp in the last days of the summer transfer window with the hopes of filling the gap left by Neymar's departure to Paris Saint Germain.
However, the France starlet has been out of action since suffering a serious muscle injury during the Catalan's 2-1 victory over Getafe on 16 September.
Barcelona ruled him out of for three-and-a-half months only days later after the 20-year-old winger was forced to undergo an operation with specialist Sakari Orava in Finland to repair a ruptured biceps femoris in his left leg.
Dembele was thus expected to be out of action until January 2018, missing 20 games in total, including the trip to Real.
But there have been suggestions that the Frenchman could return slightly ahead of schedule since earlier last month Dr Orava revealed he may be fit to play in El Clasico.
Dembele gave Barcelona fresh hope he could be available to face Real after claiming that he was expected to be back in full training two weeks before El Clasico.
Valverde has been cautious about that possibility but last week the Spanish boss provided a positive update when asked whether Dembele could be ready to face Real when Barcelona visit the Bernabeu two days before Christmas.
"Dembélé's progression is going well. We think he could be back soon but we don't want to take any risks given the amount of time he has been injured," Valverde said in the press conference ahead of the La Liga clash with Celta. "In theory, we won't have him back until after Christmas but we will see how he goes in the next few days and when he can re-join training with the rest of the squad."
And Barcelona have now provided a new encouraging update after revealing that Dembele did take part in training session with the rest of his teammates on Wednesday [6 December] morning.
Meanwhile, Barcelona confirmed that Turan will be available for the upcoming La Liga trip to Villarreal on Sunday if called upon by Valverde.
Furthermore, the boss promoted five players from the second team to the session as the players who feature in the 2-0 victory over Sporting CP on Tuesday [5 December] night only did a recovery session.
"After ending the group stages of the Champions League with a 2-0 victory against Sporting Clube de Portugal, FC Barcelona trained on Wednesday morning at the Ciutat Esportiva. At the session Ousmane Dembélé took part in the 'rondo' warm-up exercises for the first time since he was injured in the game against Getafe back in September," the club confirmed.
"Following his appearance in the 'rondo' with the rest of the squad, the French striker carried on his session alone as his recovery from injury continues. Other players who also continued with their solo recovery work after injury were Javier Mascherano and Rafinha."
"The session led by Valverde was a recovery one for the players who featured against Sporting and also saw five players from the B squad take part Palencia, Aleñá, David Costas, Jose Arnaiz and Oriol Busquets as well as U19 goalkeeper Iñáki Peña. The session also saw Arda Turan get the medical all clear with FC Barcelona's next game coming on Sunday (8.45pm CET) in the Estadio de la Céramica against Villarreal, one of the most demanding away trips of the season."