The New Zealand Warriors have been handed a huge boost after playmaker Kieran Foran's contract was registered by the NRL.
Foran, 26, battled personal issues last year and was released by the Parramatta Eels in July.
While he signed a one-year deal with the Warriors months later, it was unclear when, and if, he would be cleared to play.
"I have always said that my priority is ensuring Kieran's wellbeing - and his football career is secondary," NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said on Wednesday.
"The expert advice we recently received indicates that Kieran's recovery has reached the point where he is physically and mentally fit to return to rugby league.
"Consequently, we have today registered his contract to play with the Warriors in 2017.
"However, we want to be doubly sure that Kieran is in the right state of mind and have therefore decided to defer his return to the NRL until round three so a further psychological assessment can be made.
"Kieran will only be allowed to play again in the NRL if that assessment is positive. Conditions will also be placed on his contract relating to integrity matters following the investigation into his gambling associations last year."
It means Foran could make his Warriors debut against the Canterbury Bulldogs on March 17.
The former Manly Sea Eagles and Eels playmaker said he was thrilled to be on the verge of a return.
"Naturally I would love to return in round one because I love rugby league and I love being part of the Vodafone Warriors," Foran said.
"But both the club and NRL have put my welfare first throughout so I am just happy that my contract is registered and I now have a date for my return."