The Scotland captain last played 14 months ago as part of a United XI invited by Aberdeen to provide opposition in a testimonial match for Neil Simpson.
Both matches have been milestones in Fletcher's journey back to competitive action, with his career once in doubt after he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. The midfielder's progress has been mapped more assiduously by United's medical staff, who cleared him to take part in training with the first team this season.
The 29-year-old started against Fulham before being substituted - with the match ending in a 2-2 draw. It felt more like a victory for Fletcher, though, who said that he might have managed more than the 67 minutes he was afforded.
"It's been a long time so it's good to get back," he said. "The plan was to get to half-time and see how I felt, then get to 60 minutes and, although I felt I could have gone on a bit longer, the plan was not to play more than that. I'm better sticking to the plan and not upsetting the sports science lads."
United's attentions will be pulled back to the more pressing return of Norwich City to Old Trafford. The clubs will contest a Capital One Cup fourth-round tie tonight and David Moyes is expected to offer Wilfried Zaha a rare outing, with the winger having been linked with a move away from Old Trafford on loan.
"I just don't think we have had the right opportunity to get him on," admitted the United manager. "We will look at it in January."