Cricket Australia has confirmed that Test captain Michael Clarke could return to the game as early as the end of this month.
Clarke's ongoing back injury ruled him out of the one-day tour of India and there have been concerns about his fitness for the upcoming home Ashes series.
He has a degenerative disc problem that has been an issue since the star batsman was a teenager.
But the Australian team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said in a statement on Thursday that Clarke is making good progress.
"Michael is progressing well and recently recommenced batting in the nets," Kountouris said.
"At this stage we are aiming to have him fit to play the second round of the Sheffield Shield, but we have not ruled out the possibility of him playing the first round of the Shield season if he makes better than expected progress.
"We'll continue to monitor him closely."
NSW start their Shield season at home on October 30 against Tasmania and then play Victoria at the MCG from November 6.
The first Ashes Test is at the `Gabba in Brisbane from November 21.