Preston North End player column: Declan Rudd on suffering a freak knee injury and his road back to fitness

I have had a painful and frustrating last few months, with a knee injury having kept me out of the game since early January.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 5:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 5:44 pm

The cartilage in my knee came out from where it should be and lodged in the back of my kneecap.

It happened in training, we’d just started the final set of the session and were due to finish two minutes later.

My foot got stuck in the ground, my knee twisted and out jumped the cartilage, lodging in the kneecap

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Preston North End goalkeeper Declan Rudd

It stayed there for eight days until I was in a position to be operated on. The pain was so bad that I was on liquid morphine for the next six weeks – heavy duty stuff.

The way I would describe it is a freak accident.

The cartilage sits between two bones but completely came out. The surgeon had to move it back, clean it up and settle the knee down.

I had the operation done in York by the same surgeon who repaired Louis Moult’s cruciate ligament, so we’ve been able to compare notes.

The first few weeks after the operation were tough but I’m well down the road to recovery I’m pleased to say.

I’m about a week away from being able to do my first full training session.

But about a week to 10 days on from that session, the season will finish. So in terms of playing, my focus is on next season.

I have been back doing some training in the last couple of weeks, goalkeeper sessions with more controlled stuff rather than flying around.

It’s been great to be back out there working on the pitches, getting used to things again.

The fact that I’m doing some work now and will be back doing a full session soon is a bonus.

I was told I wouldn’t get to this stage this season but I’ve worked really hard to get this far. I’m the sort of person that if I get told I’ll be out for 16 weeks, I’ll try my best to get back in 15 weeks.

Even if I was only to do one full training session before the season ends, that would be better than what I was told in January.

Being out injured I felt rather helpless when the team was struggling. Not being able to contribute in any way, either on the pitch or in training, didn’t feel good.

Things were looking pretty bleak for a spell but the results have been far better in the last few weeks.

Frankie McAvoy has come in and freshened things up, he’s done a good job.

Alex Neil put the foundations in with what he did over the last few years and now Frankie has been able to build on that and get the results we needed.

I think managers have a time limit these days and to be fair to Alex he was one of the longest-serving in the Championship.

He worked very hard here, made us better and put in a good stint.

When I’ve been injured I watched all the games on iFollow and been able to get to a few of the home matches.

My family live in Norfolk so I’ve needed to get home to see them at weekends after being in the gym Monday to Friday. That family time has been important, it’s been a big help mentally.

Over the summer I’m going to keep busy with my goalkeeping work.

I’ll get a couple of weeks off, hopefully get away on holiday somewhere, then the hard work continues to make sure that co-ordination and speed returns.

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