Gilbey asked doctors "do you have the right player?!"
Alex Gilbey admitted he asked the doctor whether he was sure he had the right man when he was told he could return nearly six months ahead of schedule.
After knee cartilage problems forced him into surgery last February, the midfielder was expected to make a return around Christmas this year. But after several months of rehab and strengthening his knee, Gilbey was able to take part in the first day of pre-season training, and has been a starter in every game in League 2 under Paul Tisdale this season.
"It felt amazing," he said. "When I first got the news of my injury, I was devastated because I just want to play football. But we went to see the doctors again and he told us I could be running within days, we were taken aback. We asked "do you have the right player here?!", not thinking it was about me! It was brilliant.
"Just to be involved in the first game of the season I was over the moon."
After four months sidelined, Gilbey admitted he felt nervous heading to training, concerned a recurrence of the injury could force him to spend longer in the treatment room. But it has been so far so good for the 23-year-old.
He said: "I feel brilliant, it's the best I've felt for the last two years. A few times in training I was feeling it, but Simon told me not to worry, getting bigger and stronger. So I was just battering the gym stuff, all the leg stuff, everything to protect my knee. But to this day I feel great.
"It has been tough, I've had two bad injuries, but I'm really happy to be back and I'm starting to find my form again. I'm really enjoying it. Nobody expected me to be back playing now. They initially told me Christmas, so for me, I'm positive. I knew I wasn't going to come back on top of my game, but I'm slowly finding my feet again and I'm looking forward to the weekend."