Ireland lock Paul O'Connell was distraught when he was unable to represent his country in the Six Nations but remains adamant injury was never going to be the end of his career.
The Munster lock has undergone surgery on a knee and back injury in the last year which raised doubts about the 33-year-old's future.
O'Connell has returned to the heart of the Munster line-up and insists rumours of his career being over never entered his thought process.
"The only way it can have a negative effect on you is if there is truth in it," he told Sky Sports in an exclusive interview.
"There are plenty of people who struggle with injuries and I had a back injury which so many rugby players have had and it is rarely one which ends careers."
After operations last summer O'Connell was eager to return to the Ireland fold and admits missing the autumn internationals was a blow before further frustration followed when he was unable to make the Six Nations.
"Missing the Six Nations was a huge disappointment for me; I thought I would be back for that," he said.
The lock admits missing the tournament is likely to quash any hopes of making Warren Gatland's Lions squad for the tour of Australia this summer but O'Connell will always hold respect for the traditions of the representative side.
"I would be delighted but I don't think it is going to happen, for me I'm just back playing and want to focus on playing as well as I can for Munster," he added.
"I hate that more and more people have begun to doubt the credibility of the Lions and I'd love them to go out a win a Test series no matter what."