Southampton defender Graeme Murty feared his career may have been over when he suffered the knee injury which has sidelined him since August.
The 35-year-old full-back was crocked during the Carling Cup defeat by Birmingham almost three months ago, but stepped up his comeback with a 60-minute run-out for the reserves earlier this week.
"I remember the surgeon looked at it and thought I had done my cruciate," Murty told the club's official website.
"As soon as he said that and before I'd even looked at it, my heart sank a bit, especially because of the way the injury occurred with my studs sticking into the turf.
"Had that been the case I would have nailed the boots up, I think. But the cruciate is good, the knee is stable, it's just a tear in the medial to come back from."