JAY McEveley has admitted he played through the pain barrier as he dealt with the onset of his knee injury, but the full-back is convinced he did the right thing in putting surgery off until absolutely necessary.
The Scouser, who is closing in on a return to the Swindon Town first team, struggled for several weeks prior to going under the knife at the Villa Stuart rehabilitation centre on the outskirts of Rome last month but continued to turn out for the Robins.
Though he found it physically draining to prepare himself for competitive action during that period, the buzz of being part of a Swindon side competing for a League One play-off place kept him going. On the face of it, prolonging the anguish may have seemed a little foolhardy, but McEveley feels he made the right decision at the right time.
He told the Advertiser: “I was managing it, I was playing with it a little bit and it really needed doing, to be honest with you.
“I was really struggling during the week to get myself right for the Saturdays or for the Tuesday games.
“I didn’t really mention it, to be honest, because I just wanted to carry on playing but it just came to a point against Notts County where I flicked a bit of the cartilage off and it just wasn’t right.
“I knew it was going to have to get done sooner rather than later so I just took the decision. There was a week where we didn’t have a game, it was the FA Cup weekend, and that gave me a two-week gap where we wouldn’t be playing a lot of games.
“I know two games got called off (over Christmas) but it’s helped me a lot. I think I’ve only missed five or six which isn’t too bad after you’ve had surgery.
“Hopefully I can get myself back in the team.
“I think I did it at the right time. When I say I was struggling, I could just feel it now and again, not all the time just in certain movements.
“When you’re on the pitch and the adrenaline is pumping you don’t really feel anything, you feel it afterwards and then you’re icing and getting yourself ready for the next game.
“It’s come at a time where I thought I could get it done.
“The diagnosis was six to eight weeks and I thought I’d get it done and maybe get myself back for the second half of the season, so it came at the right time.”