When Giuseppe Rossi suffered cruciate ligament damage in January, it wasn't just Fiorentina fans who were devastated, all Italian football lovers were shaken up.
The ex-Manchester United man had been on lethal form and was top of the Serie A scoring chart, making him the obvious choice to lead the line for Italy in Brazil.
For the second time in his career a serious knee injury had stopped Rossi in his tracks and June 14's showdown with England looked only a faint possibility as he went under the knife.
But Rossi has now returned to training in much quicker time than expected and was greeted by more than 500 fans who came to wish him well.
The doctors are delighted with the American-born marksman's recovery and have advised coach Vincenzo Montella that Rossi can be called upon as long as it is in a part-time capacity.
Initially Rossi will only be able to warm the bench and he faces a race against time to convince Cesare Prandelli that he should make the plane to Brazil, but it's a risk the coach is likely to take.
While fit, Rossi proved himself to be a reliable scorer and he also has the benefit of experience of playing in England.
The news of Rossi's recovery will certainly worry Roy Hodgson who will also be aware that Prandelli has a great depth of players who could partner him, including Torino's 21-goal Ciro Immobile and enigmatic ex-Manchester City man Mario Balotelli.