Nine long months, 48 games, thousands of hours of rehab and some dark times thrown in - but there’s light at the end of the tunnel for Scott Wootton.
An innocuous collision in the much-maligned Checkatrade Trophy ended the defender’s season before it really could get started last August.
Suffering a complete rupture of his ACL, torn meniscus, damaged medial collateral ligament and some serious bone bruising, Wootton would be out of the game for nearly a year.
“I heard it so many times, I put it in my notes and copy it and paste it to anyone who asks what I did,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot about my knee in the last nine months!
“The key is trying to get your head around it straight away. You train all week to play on a Saturday, and that was taken away. It’s what I love doing, and when I couldn’t do it, it was devastating.”
After surgery, Wootton would eventually walk again, get back in the gym and rebuild strength in his left knee, achieving little landmarks along the way.
“It was quite scary really, I didn’t know what to think. It was only a soft ball in the gym.
“Simon (Crampton, MK Dons’ physio) explained the movement to me, reminding my I’d done it loads of times in the gym, the only difference would be the impact with the ball. And when I did it, it felt normal.
“It was a landmark for me. Looking back, all he did was roll the ball to me, and he stood there expecting it back.”
Each landmark made the rehabbing easier, working alongside Chuks Aneke who was suffering his own injury turmoils last season, helping each other through the dark times.
As Dons’ season began to pick up towards the end of the season, so did the progress for Wootton, the light at the end of the tunnel getting brighter.
For Wootton though, a return to the pitch was all he has in his mind.
Wootton said: “The first day of pre-season will be great.
“The team will be training and I might be with the physios out on the grass, but to be in the group with the lads will be a great feeling.
“That will be another land mark, then the first pre-season game, the first proper match.
“I’ll probably be a bit nervous before hand to be honest, once the whistle goes I’ll be fine.
“Then the first league game will be massive if I’ve done enough to get a start!”