It may have only been 62 minutes in a development match, but Danny Green was delighted to get back on the football field again.
The 26-year-old hasn’t kicked a ball in anger for MK Dons since the 4-0 win over Manchester United in August, spending eight weeks on the sidelines with an acute hamstring problem.
But on Monday night, Green returned to action in the Development League Cup, playing 62 minutes and earning himself a spot on the bus to Port Vale for this Saturday’s FA Cup first round game.
“It has been a long eight weeks, but it was nice to get out on the field again and have a run around,” said Green.
“The last game I played in was against Manchester United.
“After that, I was just trying to get strength back in my hamstring.
“I just couldn’t sprint. I could do everything else. There was a sharp pain in my hamstring, and it was relentless for four or five weeks.
“Gradually, it has gotten better. It has been really frustrating.
“I owe a lot to the medical staff.”
Green hasn’t been alone in the medical room with physio Simon Crampton. Right backs George Baldock and Lee Hodson have both been spending a lot of time recovering from injury.
But far from getting down, the trio have been keeping each other motivated in their individual recoveries.
Green said: “The boys I’ve been injured, George and Lee, have kept each other’s spirits high. They’re not far off full fitness either, so it’ll be good to have them back. It’d be awful if you’re on your own.
“I did get a little bit down, and didn’t want to talk to people, but you’ve got to regroup and have regular meetings with the physios and establish a plan.
“When you’re injured, you’re still amongst it, but you’re not really part of the team. You’re no good to them, you’re not fit, you can’t travel, you’re not out on the pitch. You feel very distant.
“But the group of lads we have here are quite tight and you don’t feel like you’re missing anything.”
Green will be part of the squad travelling to Vale Park at the weekend - a game which manager Karl Robinson admits he will make several changes for.
And the winger hopes to play a part in the FA Cup game, saying it offers a great opportunity for squad players to make a name for themselves.
“If you haven’t played for a while, and with suspensions, it gives you an opportunity to get on the bench and there’s a chance to make an impact. It’s an important game for everyone.
“Our priority is the league, of course, but everyone dreams of winning the FA Cup when they’re a kid. I got to the quarter finals with Charlton last season, but we just blew it in the end. You can slowly make your way there without really noticing. Hopefully we can do well again here.”