Michael Raynes could be set for a shock return to Hartlepool United - before the end of the season.
The 31-year-old central defender suffered an Achilles tear just three games into his Pools loan and was sent back to Crewe Alexandra to recover.
That looked certain to spell the end of his time at the Super 6 Stadium, with manager Hignett predicting the player would be out well into the summer.
But former Carlisle man Raynes has recovered from the issue much quicker than expected.
And Hignett revealed to the Mail that Raynes might yet play for Pools this season, although he hinted an extended spell into next season looks unlikely.
"I spoke to Michael Raynes yesterday (Friday) - he is back jogging and could be back earlier than anticipated," said Hignett.
"That's still going to be four weeks for him. We have got him for the rest of the season so if he wants to come back and is fit he can be here to the end of the season.
"We will play him in games and put him in the shop window, whether that is here or somewhere else.
"He is a great lad, a great character and someone who the lads like Aaron Cunningham and Peter Kioso can really learn off."