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.