Although the left-back returned for three reserve games last March, his comeback was cut short by a complication with his ankle, followed by a toe problem in October.
Aston Villa reward Holland defender Wilfred Bouma with new contractBouma, who has now returned to full training, was understandably relieved to have completed a full match without any signs of a reoccurrence of either injury.
He said: "I'm very pleased because it was my first game back after a long time out. I've only been back in training for 10 days so I was delighted with what I could do last night.
"Before the game we had said if I could get an hour it would be great and anything more would be even better, so to play the whole 90 minutes was great.
"This is now the third time so hopefully it's third time lucky and I've got everything bad out of the way and behind me.'
It is now a question of regaining match fitness, but to know that Bouma is back in full training will be one less problem that O'Neill has to concern himself with.
Having let Nicky Shorey join Fulham on loan on Monday, the Villa manager's options at left back had been reduced to Stephen Warnock and Luke Young. Warnock is suffering from a shin injury - although Shorey's departure suggests that is minor - and Young is naturally a right-sided player.