The Leicester City midfielder ruptured ligaments in the last game of the 2014/15 campaign.
He missed the entirety of the Foxes’ Premier-League-winning season the year after, before arriving at Oakwell on loan in January.
The 25-year-old, pictured, made 18 appearances under Paul Heckingbottom and said: “It was a tough time when I went out on loan. I needed to go out and play games.
“I probably didn’t expect to play as many games but, once I got back into the swing of things, it was like I had never been injured.
“Looking back on it, I think it’s made me a stronger person, a stronger player. Mentally, it’s made me stronger in every aspect of life.”
James suffered down days during his time out and he explained how emotional it was when he finally returned to action.
I just rolled into it and it was a great feeling,” he said.
“I was feeling that I might never play football again. Once I played that first 90 minutes, the shackles came off and I was a player again. It was emotional for me and my family.
“Everyone had been waiting for that moment, people who were close to me, so it was really emotional time. It was more about playing the next game and then the next one, the next one, the next one.”