The Crusaders have revealed that All Black first five-eighth Dan Carter will be considered for selection this week if he passes a fitness test.
Carter has not played Super Rugby since March the 23rd due to paternity leave and then due to a hamstring injury.
The All Black's importance to the Crusaders and the national cause means that coach Todd Blackadder will not rush him back before he is ready as it could lead to further extended time out.
While Carter could return for the Crusaders this weekend he may not be in the starting line up and Tyler Bleyendaal could retain the number 10 jersey for this week's match against the Rebels.
"Dan will be assessed this week, we're hoping he will be right," Blackadder told Fairfax NZ News.
"If he is fit, he may not be an automatic starter. "
"We could do what we did with Tom Taylor last week (when he was named on the bench for the Highlanders). "
"We won't be making changes for the Rebels game just for the sake or resting players or anything like that."
Coach Blackadder said that he was relieved that the Crusaders got back on track with their 24-8 victory over the Highlanders after two losses on tour.
Blackadder was also impressed with Bleyendaal's performance against the Highlanders as he added some physicality to his game.
Carter's return to fitness comes at an interesting time for the Crusaders as just over a week ago they had one fit first-five and now Tom Taylor and Carter returning to fitness they are likely to have the choice of three playmakers.
"Tyler put in his best defensive game of the season, I thought he played really well," Blackadder added.
"I have never seen him get so physical with his tackles and clean-out - he showed some real grit."
Blackadder has also revealed that Captain and No 8 Kieran Read is an outside chance to play the Rebels having not played since March the 23rd when he tore ligaments in his big toe.
"He's back jogging again - that is a really good sign. But I suppose we just have to wait to see how he pulls-up this week."
Read could be named on the bench for the Rebels as it would allow him to build confidence before the Crusaders face the tournament leading Brumbies in Canberra on May the 5th.
Luke Whitelock is therefore likely to be retained at No.8 after he too impressed Blackadder against the Highlanders.
"I thought Luke had his best game of the season," Blackadder stated.
"For a young man the path he should take is to do the hard work, learn his trade. He's showing some promise, he just has to keep getting his hands dirty."
The Crusaders have only played the Rebels once in Super Rugby and the Rebels won the match 28-19 in Melbourne last year.
That result will ensure that the Crusaders will take the Rebels seriously this week and they won't taking anything for granted.
"It would be arrogant for the coaches, or anyone, to think we are going to thump the Rebels. It is just not going to happen."