Freddie Ljungberg is ahead of schedule in his recovery from hip surgery, new club Seattle Sounders said today.
The 31-year-old former Sweden international went under the knife at the renowned Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Colorado on December 19, when the Major League Soccer outfit projected his return to training was 10 to 12 weeks away.
Yet a club spokesman said the former Arsenal and West Ham star was progressing better than expected with his rehabilitation, which he is continuing at the Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Vail under the supervision of his surgeon Dr Marc Philippon.
"He's actually ahead of schedule right now,'' the Sounders' Zac Kaplan told PA Sport.
"We don't know exactly when he'll be returning to training but according to our technical director he's ahead of schedule."
Seattle begin their inaugural season in MLS on March 19 at home to New York Red Bulls with the initial projection for Ljungberg indicating the midfielder would miss all of the club's pre-season training, beginning next week.
Ljungberg signed for Seattle on October 28 having had his contract with West Ham terminated after just 25 appearances for the Hammers in his one season at Upton Park.
He moved to the United States as one of MLS's Designated Players, meaning his salary did not count towards the league-enforced salary cap imposed on each team.
The rule was introduced to encourage clubs to attract world-renowned stars, with David Beckham becoming the first such player when he joined the Los Angeles Galaxy from Real Madrid in 2007.