Portsmouth manager Paul Hart has paid tribute to David James for playing in pain for 18 months.
James underwent surgery on a shoulder problem on Wednesday after putting off the operation until Pompey had secured their Premier League status.
He will miss England's upcoming World Cup qualifiers but has been troubled by the injury since the start of 2008 and Hart has defended the timing.
Hart believes the goalkeeper has shown tremendous character to battle through a difficult period for the good of the club.
"Jamo has put an awful lot at risk," Hart explained. "He has been playing with that injury for such a long time.
"I would think maybe it's 18 months that it's been there although don't ask me what it is. I don't know the medical terms but it has come to a stage when it had to be fixed or else it could have led to serious complications.
"It's typical of the spirit among the players here and the spirit from the entire club. Jamo has done everything for the fight here but they have all been immense and I have nothing but admiration for everybody.
"Staying up has hopefully saved people's jobs here, people whose jobs are not generally recognised outside the club. Going down to the Championship means tough decisions having to be made about jobs."