Steven Reid has admitted that he feared having to quit professional football at the height of his injury nightmare.
The Blackburn midfielder has been plagued by niggling knocks over recent years, keeping him consigned to the sidelines for long periods.
He has revealed that the mental toughness required to keep bouncing back was almost lost on him at one stage over the past 12 months.
The Republic of Ireland international is closing in a first-team recall at Rovers, but he admits he wondered whether he would ever play again after being laid low by a career-threatening knee problem.
"It's been a long, lonely journey at times," Reid told The Sun.
"Sometimes I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel, especially when I was training in the gym on my own and doing the rehab on cold mornings in January.
"I'd be lying if I said there weren't moments when I wondered what I'd do if I had to pack it in."
Reid is now hoping to be involved in Blackburn's trip to Chelsea on Saturday, keen to repay the faith shown in him by boss Sam Allardyce.
"Now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel," he added.
"I want to get back and repay the manager's and the fans' faith in me. If I can do that and play well then the future will take care of itself.
"I've something to prove to the boss, who hasn't seen a lot of me since he arrived."
Reid is also hoping to reignite his international ambitions over the coming months, with Ireland still in with a chance of reaching next summer's World Cup finals.
"The surgery has been a total success and the knee is doing well," he said.
"I've played six or seven games in the last two months, including the two Carling Cup matches against Gillingham and Nottingham Forest.
"My aim is to get to the World Cup next summer. I played in the World Cup in 2002, when I was 21, and the experience went by so quickly I want another chance.
"But first and foremost I have to get back to playing for Blackburn."