Injury-hit Bolton star Stuart Holden admits he was left depressed by the prospect of another lengthy spell on the sidelines after more knee surgery.
The USA midfielder, 26, battled back from a serious knee fracture to regain his place back in the Wanderers side in September following a frustrating six-month spell out.
But he only managed 90 minutes of action, when he produced a man of the match display against Aston Villa in the League Cup, before he was ruled out for the rest of the season.
Holden suffered a reaction in early October and was taken for a clean-up operation initially thought to sideline him for six weeks.
But surgeons told him that pins inserted into his knee to solve the original injury, sustained against Manchester United in March, had caused serious damage.
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't devastated and in that deep, dark hole for the first couple of weeks because initially I thought I was going in for a routine operation," Holden told the Bolton News.
"I'd worked really hard to get back in that six months and played really well in the Aston Villa game.
"So for that to happen, I just switched my phone off and needed some time to myself."
But upbeat Holden has brushed aside his initial disappointment and is firmly focused on battling back to fitness again.
Currently he is completing his rehabilitation in his homeland but is set to return to Bolton for gym work next month.
He said: "Once I'd got over that hump I was back to being me - positive and focused on getting back on the pitch.
"I've done everything I can so far in my rehab, got my head back on straight, and I'm really looking forward to doing the work again.
"I know that once I get back out there all the hard work will be worth it."