Anderson Silva continues his remarkable recovery from a broken leg suffered at UFC 168.  Dr. Marcio Tannure, the UFC and Brazilian commission consulting doctor, has cleared Anderson Silva to begin sparring.  Tannure is also Silva's doctor.

Dr. Tannure gave an interview to MMAFighting.com, explaining Silva's progress to date from the injury and why there is still more work to do in order for Silva to get in the cage again:

"He was already cleared by his doctors in the United States, but he likes to hear my opinion because I was with him in every step of his recovery, including the surgery.  There is no exact timetable for this type of injury.  It could take three months, or one year, but he had a good recovery and we're happy.  It's going as expected."

"It would be really premature to say something now [on a return date], he hasn't even sparred yet.  His recovery was great, but now we have to work on his mind and get rid of the mental block.  It could take a while, maybe not.  It would be really hard to say right now he can or can't fight this year.  It's not the moment, and he's the one that is going to feel that."

"He has to start slowly.  It still is really hard for him to work on that.  He feels unsafe now, maybe sees some images on his head, so we can't demand too much from him right now.  That's the toughest barrier to overcome.  He will only lose this fear with training, and then he will know if he's ready to fight or not.  That's absolutely normal."

UFC has to be licking their chops thinking that Silva might return in 2014.  But, as is to be expected, he has to get past the mental block of using his leg for full kicks again.  This could truly be significant, because as important as the physical issues are getting to where he can throw kicks with abandon mentally might be a bigger issue.  If the sparring work this summer helps him to move on from that quickly, then of course the possibility exists that he returns to the cage for a fight in late December.  If not, that certainly keeps the 2015 timetable in play as well.

Best wishes to Silva as he continues his recovery.