Being back training with the boys in the last week or two has felt great and it was a big step forward in coming back from my injury.
I ruptured the tendon in the hamstring in my left leg playing against Blackburn in November – basically what happened is that the tendon ripped from the muscle.
As I had surgery, it was the longest time I could be out for a hamstring-type injury but hopefully everything is fine now that it is fixed.
About 80% of the tendon came away from the muscle, which is a big injury.
If I had chosen to try and repair it just with rehab work I would have been back a lot sooner but had I done it that way, there was a high chance of it going again.
The club got me the top guy in London to carry out the surgery and he has put it all back together again.
It is a different injury to that which Sean Maguire and Greg Cunningham suffered last season.
Theirs were both tendons higher up the hamstring, mine was a lower one.
However, we would still have done the same sort of rehab work and exercises to get back to full fitness.
The injury came about when I was just making a run in the Blackburn game.
I knew straight away that there was something wrong and probably wouldn’t be playing the next game a few days later.
But at the time I did not realise that it would be a three or four-month job.
Unfortunately injuries are part and parcel of the game and it is about trying to come back stronger.
The work I have done in recovering after the surgery means I’m a lot stronger in my legs and body. With no games to focus on and prepare for, I’ve been able to get the weights done in the gym – I’ve realised what an important side of the game that is.
So why did the tendon come away in the way it did?
At the end of the day it was probably down to how much I had been playing.
I’d played roughly 900 more minutes from the start of the season than I had done before – that’s a lot more.
I was going away with the Republic of Ireland and had started four of the six games I played with them.
During the international breaks when the lads here were getting three days off, I’d be away training with the Irish team and playing.
Then I’d be coming back and going into a Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday schedule.
I think that just took its toll on my body and I got the hamstring injury.
At the time the gaffer couldn’t rest me because I was in the best form of my career and we needed to get results.
The first couple of weeks after the operation were the worst, in that there was so little I could do.
My left leg was in a brace and the only work I could do were some basic movements sat in the physio room.
There were other lads out injured but they were at the stage of being in the gym.
The club were great with me, they let me have a week away, which got me ready to go into the gym.
I’m not a ‘gym head’ yet but I definitely realise now how important it is to look after your body in that way.
My first involvement back with the lads was on a Friday morning when I did the keep-ball session with them at the start of training – it is safe to say I was the loudest out there!
Then the Monday after that, I joined in a full session and have gone from there.
I’ve got my own warm-up programme to do now as well as what the others do, then there are the weights to do to keep my hamstrings strong.
My left leg which I injured is the one I usually just use to stand on – I’m right footed.
But my last goal before the injury was with my left foot against Blackburn.
If my time out injured has taught me anything, it is how hard it is to watch a game!
You find yourself sat there thinking as a player even though you are in the stand. You say to yourself, ‘I’d be stood there or I’d make a run behind the defender’.
I realise football is a simpler game when you’re watching it, than when you out there on the pitch.
One experience which I really enjoyed was watching our 4-1 win at Queens Park Rangers in January from the away end.
It was brilliant being in with our fans and sampling the atmosphere.
You realise what it means to the supporters when we scored and came away with the victory.
In a nice way, I hope being in the crowd was a one-off and I can be back out on the pitch helping the team to get to where we want to be.
I’m sharpening up my fitness, enjoying the training sessions, and enjoying being part of it again.