Attacker Scott Wright battled back from a serious knee injury only to have his Aberdeen comeback wrecked by the Covid-19 outbreak.
Initial fears were that the 22-year-old’s season was over after suffering cruciate ligament damage last September that required surgery.
The normal prognosis is nine to 12 months out.
However, Wright was set to return earlier than anticipated just as the coronavirus pandemic hit. He had two full training sessions before Scottish football was shut-down at all levels on March 13.
Now that the Dons have returned for socially-distanced training to work towards the August 1 Premiership restart, Aberdonian Wright is ready to make up for lost time.
He said: “I was gutted with the way things worked out.
“Adam (Stokes, Aberdeen head of medicine and football science) and myself worked so hard to try and get back before the end of the campaign.
“The plan at first was to say my season was over, but we both knew that I would have had a chance of coming back before the end if we applied ourselves right.
“I managed to get fit and got two training sessions in.
“I was going to be playing for the reserves midweek after the Motherwell game on the Friday night, and then I would have been classed as returned to fully fit.
“I trained on Wednesday and Thursday, felt good and then got the message everyone had been sent home due to Covid.
“And I had not been back into the training ground since.
“In my mind I was going to be pushing for a place in the squad for the Hearts game after the international break.
“I felt brilliant, really strong.
“It was frustrating, but these things happen and there is no point dwelling on it.
“I have to now apply myself during pre-season. I want to try and an extended run in the team.
“I feel really good as I was running during the lockdown.”
Wright began last season strongly and scored in the 5-0 defeat of Chikhura Sachkhere in the Europa League at Pittodrie.
Then he suffered the knee injury in September.
Wright said: “It was at training. The ball was rolling towards me and I had my back to goal. I tried to turn and tried to go over my shoulder.
“My foot got stuck in the ground, my body turned and my knee went the other way.
“It felt like slow motion and I heard a crack as I twisted.
“I remember falling back, hitting the ground and it was really sore. We thought I might have just tweaked the cartilage on the outside of my knee.
“My knee hadn’t swollen up.
“We got a scan the next day.
“That night Adam phoned me to say it was bad news.”
Faced with the devastating news his season would likely be over Wright admits he experienced a rush of emotions as the severity of the injury sank in.
Wright had suffered a tear to his anterior cruciate ligament.
He said: “Once I got the call, I thought that is nine to 12 months at least. At first I was frustrated, then gutted, then angry – I got that rush of emotions in the space of half an hour.
“It had completely torn and was just floating.
“However, I had no pain in my knee. I could walk and felt like I could have jogged.
“Occasionally it would just give way under me. Just twisting in a training session made it a bit harder for me to take.”
Wright subsequently operated on by world-renowned Professor Gordon Mackay in Glasgow.
He said: “After picking up the injury, I was down for a couple of days after I got the phone call telling me about the scan results.
“But I bounced back very quickly and a lot of that was down to the fact I knew how good Adam was. I knew that I was in the best hands possible.
“I said to myself that I would come out stronger from the experience.
“I thought I can be gutted tonight, but tomorrow I go back to work, which is trying to get fit.
“After the surgery is when the hard work really started.”
Wright worked closely with Stokes during his rehabilitation.
However, he was also inspired by the return of centre-backs Mikey Devlin and Mark Reynolds, now at Dundee United, from similar knee injuries.
He said: “I took a lot of encouragement from seeing what had happened with Mark Reynolds and the way Adam helped him. I knew it was unlikely that I would be back as quickly as he was, that was remarkable, but it gave me the motivation to try and be back as quick as possible.
“The medical staff made it a good environment, a happy place for me to come into every day.
“They kept me motivated every single day. At first it is quite slow and you start to get a bit frustrated as you want to get to the next stage and move on, but you have complete trust in what they are telling you.
“As well as Adam, Mikey Devlin was brilliant with me. Mikey also had similar injuries. I watched the way he looked after himself – he was always in the gym before training and after training to make sure it did not happen again.
“I was really impressed with the way he approached it.
“Everyone did their bit, especially the manager, to keep me involved as much as possible.”