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Anderson Silva cleared to spar, but UFC return not on the horizon yet

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Anderson Silva will spar for the first time since breaking his left leg against Chris Weidman at UFC 168.

Silva, a former UFC middleweight kingpin, was cleared by his doctors to return to sparring Friday, 175 days after suffering a gruesome injury at the title fight in Las Vegas, and his recovery is going as expected.

"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," Dr. Marcio Tannure told MMAFighting.com on Friday.

"There’s no exact recovery 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 we expected."

Silva already threw some leg kicks in training, but doctors can’t set a date for his return to the Octagon yet.

"It would be really premature to say something now, he hasn’t even sparred yet," Dr. Tannure said. "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 it."

According to Dr. Tannure, the former UFC middleweight champion, who went undefeated from 2006 to 2013 before a pair of losses to Chris Weidman, is still "unsafe" for throwing power leg kicks.

"He has to start slowly. It still is really hard for him to work on that," he said. "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."