Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Steve Sidwell is desperate to put his injury frustration behind him, but insists he will not rush to put himself back in contention.
The 34-year-old underwent surgery for a back injury in September, and although his recovery is progressing well, he admits he has not set a return date.
He explained, "I've had a back problem for probably about six months now.
"It started as a back ache, but over pre-season it got worse and it reached a point where it was unbearable.
"I had a weekend where the pain literally went from nought to a hundred. I came in on the Monday and saw the physios and on the Wednesday I was rushed into surgery, so it was serious. It was a prolapsed disc pressing the nerve.
"There's no real time frame you can put on it with a nerve injury. It's not like a muscle injury.
“I'm getting there. It's slower than I anticipated, but I've got to make sure I do it right and do the building blocks in stages, because if you skip a couple it makes it worse."
Sidwell also spoke about Davy Propper’s recent performances, and has been impressed by the Dutchman’s progress since his arrival from PSV Eindhoven in the summer.
"When he first came it took him a few games to get up to speed with the Premier League.
“There was more of a spotlight on him with his profile and the money paid for him, but we can all see now what a good player he is.
"He is complementing Dale [Stephens] in there. The two of them work off each other really well and I think slowly, game by game, you are going to see more and more of him.
"He is still finding his feet but there is a lot more to come from him in all-round play as well as scoring goals, because we know he can do that, so it's encouraging.
"I think we'll find he will play vital parts in the majority of goals, whether that is starting them where he has won the ball back, assists, or even scoring himself."
Sidwell was speaking at a free half-term football tournament organised by Albion in the Community.
More than 50 youngsters from across Brighton and Hove took part in the tournament, which was held as part of AITC’s Premier League Kicks programme.
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