American defender Steve Cherundolo dressed for the first time this season but did not enter the match in Eintracht Braunschweig's 0-0 tie at Hannover on Friday night, the Bundesliga's first Lower Saxony derby in 37 years on Friday.
The 34-year-old right back, a member of the last three U.S. World Cup teams, had left knee surgery in February and returned for five games in April and May. Cherundolo, Hannover's captain, had another knee operation in August.
Braunschweig is back in the Bundesliga after 28 years.
A flare landed on the field during the game, and there was a heavy police presence.