Newcastle United manager Sam Allardyce has revealed that Damien Duff's foot injury could have ended the Republic of Ireland international's career.
The 28-year-old has not played since April and is still two months away from a first-team return but it is now believed he will make a full recovery.
"Damien has been working extremely hard, but the injury he had was a career-threatening one," Allardyce told the Northern Echo. "It was a really nasty injury and a very serious one.
"It has been a long and difficult recovery for him, but he is desperate to get back.
"He had a frustrating time last season with injury even before he broke his foot, and he wants to show people the real Damien Duff.
"There are not many better wide players in the Premier League than Damien and it's up to us to get him back to the level he was at a couple of years ago.
"If Damien Duff is playing to his full potential, he would be an asset to any club.
"He was a wonderful player at Blackburn and Chelsea, and he wants to show people what he is capable of at Newcastle."