Gradel picked up a knee injury back in August and is now closer to a return, after receiving some of his treatment abroad.
Howe also gave an update on Callum Wilson and Tommy Elphick.
"Maxi is back now after being away intermittently," Howe said.
"He's an infectious and a positive member of the dressing room but he's still got a long way to go injury wise.
"We're really pleased with Tommy's progress, he's had no reaction to the injury which is probably the biggest thing for an injured player. He played in the under-21s game in midweek, but we do need to make sure he's 100 per cent fit before a return.
"Callum will be longer than Maxi but should everything go to plan on their schedules then hopefully we should have both back before the end of the season, they'd be like new signings."
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