The Chelsea club captain has missed 16 first-team games since suffering knee ligament damage against Liverpool on November 11 but he started the local derby against Fulham at the club's Cobham training ground.
With interim manager Rafael Benitez watching on from the stands, Terry had an early scare when his mistake almost let in Fulham, but otherwise he was rarely troubled in a calm and composed performance before being replaced at half-time following a goalless first half.
The 32-year-old former England skipper showed no obvious physical problems on his comeback appearance to give Benitez a timely boost following Wednesday night's Capital One Cup semi-final first leg defeat to Swansea.
The Spaniard was booed by Chelsea supporters during the 2-0 loss at Stamford Bridge, a result which followed on from last week's shock home Barclays Premier League defeat to QPR.
Chelsea will now hope to get back on track this weekend when they go to Stoke, although it remains to be seen when Terry will be available again for first-team action.
After that match, the Blues have home fixtures against Southampton and Arsenal in the league before the Capital One Cup semi-final return meeting against Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.
Chelsea centre-back Gary Cahill has called on his side to summon the spirit of their unlikely Champions League crowning in their bid to reach the final.
Swansea have only lost twice at home this term, but having turned around their tie against Napoli and seen off Barcelona and Bayern Munich as underdogs last season, the England centre-half thinks the Londoners are well placed to overturn the two-goal deficit.
"I've found Swansea a difficult place to go," Cahill told Chelsea TV.
"On my last three visits I've had two draws and a defeat, but we proved last season in the Champions League we can do it.
"Against Napoli we were 3-1 down and we turned it around at home, so this team can do it, and we need to do it."