Angel Martinez is overjoyed to ‘feel like a footballer again’ after a nightmare six months.
The Spireites’ Spanish midfielder ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in training back in September, and today started the outdoor phase of his rehabilitation.
Being back with his team-mates on the turf meant the world to the 30-year-old.
He said: “Today I did my first training outside on the training ground, so I did the warm up with the rest of the lads, some hard running in straight lines, so I’m getting there.
“I’m feeling very good. It’s very nice.
“I’ve had four or five months of going to the gym every day, so wow to feel the grass - I can’t believe I’m saying that – but to feel the grass, and the cold, it’s so good.”
And he had a big welcome from Danny Wilson and the Chesterfield squad.
“All the lads were happy to see me, the gaffer, and I was the happiest guy in the world today, feeling the boots on my feet and running with the lads.
“I feel like a football player again.”
It will be another three weeks at least before he can start twisting and turning again, so a return to match action is still a long way off for the former Espanyol man.
“The main thing is to get the confidence in the knee, I’m getting there,” he added.
Martinez made just three appearances for the club before the injury, and assistant manager Chris Morgan is yet to see him feature in a Chesterfield shirt.
But he’s heard good things, and looks forward to seeing for himself what Martinez can do.
“It was excellent,” said Morgan.
“I just said to him, when people have been out for a while and had cruciate injuries – which seem to becoming more common – career threatening injuries like that, to get him back on the grass is great.
“I’ve not witnessed him playing for the club but the messages we get are that he’s doing really well.
“An exciting player and someone we’re looking forward to getting back.”