The former Oxford player, who has also operated as an emergency right-back for the Black Cats, was sidelined just two games into the Barclays Premier League season with a ligament injury which looked likely to keep him out for at least six months.
However, tests revealed surgery was not required as the damaged started to repair itself under the careful scrutiny of Whitehead's specialist and the club's medical team, and his recovery has continued apace ever since.
Keane said: "The Falkirk game could be ideal for Dean in terms of him getting his match boots back on. He could be involved.
"He has trained well for the last few weeks and all being well, he is ready to step it up with a proper game."