Former longtime UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva suffered one of the most gruesome injuries MMA has ever seen when he shattered his left tibia and fibula as Chris Weidman checked his kick in the main event of UFC 168 last December.

It was immediately thought that the 38-year-old Silva’s illustrious career had come to an abrupt and shocking end, but reports soon began to rise that Silva’s injury wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked. He had successful surgery directly after it occurred, and Ed Soares reported last week that he was already riding an exercise bike in physical therapy.

This week, UFC President Dana White appeared on Sportsnation on ESPN 2 to detail the escalating recovery of ‘The Spider’:

“What’s crazy about that injury is that he will be walking without crutches in a few weeks, he will training in less than six months, and he will be fighting by the end of the year. So if you blew your ACL out, you’re out for a year and three months. If you break your leg in half, you’re back before the end of the year. The reality of it is he’s still going to walk in a few weeks here, he’s gotta come back first, let him start training and see what happens, and then we’ll go from there.”

So while Silva’s injury may have looked absolutely devastating at first, it is actually healing much faster than an injury involving ligament damage. It doesn’t hurt that ‘The Spider’ is a world-class athlete who has taken little damage throughout his UFC career, at least up until his feud with Weidman.

While Silva has been reported to return to his long-rumored boxing match with Roy Jones Jr., White seems fairly certain that he’ll be back in the Octagon before the end of 2014. Is that view a bit optimistic, or will a motivated Silva come back in rapid fashion? If he does, will he fight like his dominant former self?