The Manchester United skipper has not played a first-team game since breaking an ankle against Bolton in March last year, during which time he has also been troubled by thigh and calf problems.
However, Ferguson reported the fresh problem was merely due to scar tissue and after being given the green light to step up training, Neville - who has found the net just seven times in his United career - promptly scored against Everton, albeit with the aid of a couple of deflections after he let fly with a left-footed strike after cutting inside the area.
On a wind-swept night at Widnes, Neville appeared to show no ill-effects from his exertions, although he was taken off at half-time, along with Danny Simpson and Craig Cathcart, as the Red Devils drew 2-2.
But, after Neville had pulled one back, Everton were reduced to 10 men before the break when John Irving was sent off for a professional foul.
Although Ritchie Jones failed to convert the spot-kick, Sean Evans was on target after 63 minutes to earn United a share of the spoils.