'I just thought it was over' - Alex Baptiste on his career threatening injury and road back to Doncaster Rovers return
Alex Baptiste thought his career was over after suffering a devastating Achilles injury just two games into his Doncaster Rovers stay.
The veteran centre snapped his Achilles tendon under no pressure during the draw with Rochdale in early August.
With his 34th birthday last month and holding just a one-year deal for Rovers, an injury which initially looked set to rule him out for the whole campaign looked to have delivered a major blow to his chances of continuing life as a professional footballer.
The former Blackpool and Mansfield Town centre half has made a remarkable recovery however, and played his first minutes since his injury, in the first half of Rovers U23s’ clash with Rotherham United on Tuesday.
But he still looks back at that dark day in August when it seemed as though his time in the game was up.
“I was feeling that I was going to retire to be honest,” he said.
“I know how bad this injury is. I’ve seen a lot of people have it. I follow a lot of NBA, basketball, and it takes them about a year to get over.
“I thought it would be the end of the season and then obviously I might be struggling with a contract with having been out for so long and coming up to 34.
“We were at the hospital on the night and the guy said it would be nine to 12 months.
“I was devastated. I just thought it was over.
“Then you get back to work and see how you are. I was progressing really well. Now here we are.
“Luckily I’ve healed well, the physio has been brilliant, the gaffer has been brilliant.
“I’ve had a lot of luck to come back this early and hopefully now I can help the squad get to where they want to go and that is promotion.”
Baptiste was given the run around on his return by lively Rotherham forward Josh Koroma but was delighted to simply be back out on the pitch.
And he is hoping to be pushing for a place in the senior squad in a matter of weeks.
“There’s still a long way to go obviously with training to get the sharpness back but the Achilles felt good and I’m looking forward to pressing on,” he said after Tuesday’s game.
“It’s been a long time and it’s been the first game for six months so it’s timing and positioning which will come with games.
“There’s a long way to go and I’m looking forward to carrying on.
“It’s just about getting the minutes in again. I’ve only played two games really since the end of last season.
“I’m hoping, after 45 now and 60 probably next Tuesday, to just keep going from there.
“Keep pushing, keep working hard and hoping by the end of the month to be ready.
“The fitness side I feel okay but the sharpness is the thing to work on.
“We’ll keep working on that and it shouldn’t be too long hopefully.”