Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama has described his injury layoff as the "lowest point of my career" but he told the Daily Mail he longer fears for his knee.
Wanyama was sidelined for over four months with damaged knee cartilage before finally returning to action as a substitute in Spurs' 2-0 win at Swansea City on Jan. 2.
He has since made further appearances from the bench against West Ham United and Everton, and completed 90 minutes in the FA Cup win over Wimbledon.
"Being injured as a footballer teaches you many things about yourself but nothing more so than if you have your health, then you have your wealth," Wanyama said.
"Money and all the trappings of being a footballer mean nothing unless you have your health and fitness. This has been a dark time for me. When Tottenham played Real Madrid at Wembley and I had to watch. I wanted to play so badly. It was probably the lowest point of my career."
Wanyama hurt his knee in a preseason friendly in July but he featured in Spurs' first two games of the season, playing 90 minutes against Chelsea on Aug. 20 before being ruled out.
"I was so low, worrying about how long it would take," he said. "I'd go in for treatment then come home and ice the knee every two hours until 2 a.m. I'd try to sleep but I was thinking too much, worrying. I'd get up about 8 a.m. then go in for treatment again at 9 a.m. or 10 a.m.
"It wasn't an easy process but [Spurs manager] Mauricio Pochettino said to me, 'We don't want you to repeat this injury, be patient, we want you to recover properly, no risks.'"
"I never felt disconnected from the squad while I was injured. People find it hard to believe but we are an unbelievably tight group. I've not known it before where everyone is friends.
"It was euphoric when I finally returned to training. The medical team wanted to ensure we didn't rush and that my recovery did not require surgery.
"It's tough at Tottenham. Jesus Perez, the manager's assistant, is mad. He knows everything about all of us, he works you hard with different ideas and it's very fruitful. I lost 7 kg when I arrived at Tottenham from Southampton. He made me fitter. Every day now I feel stronger.
"When I came back against Swansea City, I had no pain and no fear about my knee. I trusted the guys who helped me and thanked them. I knew I was ready."