Doncaster Rovers: Joe Wright on injury and why he's happy to be patient with his return
The journey back for Joe Wright has been long and frustrating - but not one he was in any mood to rush.
The centre half made his first competitive appearance of the season in Tuesday night's win for Doncaster Rovers' U23s in the Premier League Cup.
Wright netted the winner and looked comfortable over his 60 minutes of game time - two months on from suffering the knee injury in the final game of pre-season.
The 24-year-old was restricted to just 18 appearances last season due to successive ankle injuries - the second coming just as he was preparing to make his return from the first.
A determination to make sure he was a full strength has driven his patient approach to his recovery over the past few weeks.
And it also prevented him from making the injury much more severe when it happened.
"It was a strange one because if it was a league game I'd have played on," Wright told the Free Press.
"I said that to the physio 'I don't know what it is but I'm getting a little click in my knee.'
"It was a strange one. Probably it was to do with the load and how much I played in pre-season.
"Me and Tom [Anderson] played more than anyone else and in hindsight, because I'd been out for so long previously, I never really got up to full match fitness at the end of last season.
"Really I should have probably been eased into it which is why that has been the case now.
"It was a frustrating one because I thought there wasn't much wrong with me and it'd just be a couple of days but it turned out to be quite lengthy.
"The specialist said there could have been a lot more damage if I had carried on so it was right for me to come off.
"It's something I've put behind me now and look forward to get back out there."
In what looked set to be a big season for him personally, Wright admits the injury blow just a week from the opening game was difficult to take.
But for a player who maintains a positive mentality, he quickly focused on his return.
And his new boss Darren Moore was keen for him to take his time too.
"It's been frustrating," Wright said.
"Playing all of pre-season and then in the last game just to get a niggle.
"The fitness coaches Rob Lee and James Walsh have been really good.
"They gave me two weeks training and said 'don't rush back, we just want to get it right this time.'
"I felt I had good fitness levels in there and I could have probably played the whole game on Tuesday night.
"It's something the gaffer said to me. He wanted me to take my time.
"He said 'it's early on in the season and we want you for the whole season not just a week or two.'
"They've given me an extra couple of weeks, which they have done.
"There was talk of me playing the week before but they decided not to rush it and train for an extra week.
"It was really nice to get some minutes under my belt and we'll kick on from there."