Lewis started four of Eddie Howe’s opening six games in charge as Magpies head coach before picking up a hamstring injury in a 3-1 defeat to Liverpool.
An ongoing groin issue that required the 24-year-old to go under the knife forced Howe to leave the player out of the club’s 25-man squad for the second half of last season.
Howe was keen to see Lewis in action during pre-season, though he didn’t play a single minute with a calf problem capping off an incredibly frustrating six months for the Northern Ireland international.
But certainly, Lewis’ 45-minute cameo against Tranmere is a step in the right direction.
Step in the right direction for Jamal Lewis
Howe said: “He’s had a difficult couple of years but he’s a player of big potential. (He’s) very good physically and I thought he did well when he came on.
“When you don’t play for that length of time, it’s really difficult to get your rhythm.
“We wanted to see more of him in pre-season but unfortunately he picked up a calf injury problem so he’s only just returned to training.
“That’ll do him the world of good that 45 minutes.”
Reports in France this week have claimed Nice are interested in signing Lewis on a season-long loan deal.
“He could have an important role,” Howe said.
“He’s very athletic, a very good character and a very good all-round player. That’s very much the model of full-back we love.
“We’ll wait and see what happens with him but (I was) really pleased today. It was an important return.”