Bojan played the second half of Stoke’s 2-0 friendly defeat at Brentford on Saturday, exactly seven months since suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury in an FA Cup game against Rochdale.
It represented a major milestone in the former Barcelona starlet’s rehabilitation, but Hughes is mindful of rushing the 24-year-old back to competitive action.
“Everyone is pleased that he is back and he has the shirt on and he will get better, as soon as he gets on the ball you see the quality he has and the quality we missed last year,” Hughes said in the Mail on Sunday.
“To get him back to the level he was at for us last year will take time, he’s not ready yet. That will come with time.
“The key is he understands there will be hurdles; he has guys in the squad who understand the situation and can help him understand the difficulties he is going to have.
“He’s progressed really well and not had any setbacks, which is uncommon.
“It’s touch and go (on whether he will start the season) we won’t put undue pressure on him, we are giving him time.
“We have waited long enough as it is so a couple more weeks won’t hurt us, if it isn’t the first fixture we will look at future ones.”
A man that understands more than most the Spaniard’s pain over the past seven months is Peter Odemwingie, who missed the majority of last season with an ACL injury of his own.
Marc Muniesa and new loan signing Marco van Ginkel have also suffered similar injuries in recent years, but Odemwingie believes having the trio as team-mates can only help Bojan.
“It was fast for him. It took Marco van Ginkel a year and around the same for me but we encourage each other,” Odemwingie said.
“I looked at Marc Muniesa after his injury and that helped me and now Bojan looks at me and sees how I have changed over the months and I am sure that encourages him. I’m sure it’s not easy but he can see the end results are good.
“He has got over the mental barrier and when he is completely better he will help the team a lot.
“Every training session and game is a risk. The quicker you face the enemy the easier it gets so I told Bojan it will be good.”
Stoke are still hoping to make a marquee signing to wrap up their transfer business for the summer – Dynamo Kiev winger Andriy Yarmolenko is their current top target – but speculation continues to suggest the Potters are leading the race to sign another talented Barcelona youngster, Adama Traore.