He speaks with a large gash above his left eye, held together by four stitches after a clash with a Huddersfield centre-back in Sheffield Wednesday’s U21 game on Monday.
But Caolan Lavery can’t wait to pull on his boots again, get out there and pick up more battle scars.
Do his bit for the team after months on the sidelines. Take out all that frustration, if selected, on Blackburn Rovers’ defenders this weekend.
Bring it on, he says.
“I’ve missed half the season with injury, so every little bit of game time I get is going to be a positive,” Lavery, a Northern Ireland youth international, said.
“I played 90 minutes for the Under-21s against Huddersfield on Monday, so every little helps, as they say.
“Now, I’ve got to get my head down and work my way back into the team.”
“It’s so demoralising when you are not playing,” the Canadian-born 22-year-old added.
“I suppose in a way, that’s just like anyone who can’t work. So frustrating, being on the sidelines.
“All I want to do is play football. But I’m back now and that’s all in the past. All our strikers offer something different. If the gaffer thinks it’s my turn to step in and do a job then I will.”
Lavery made his first-team comeback as a last-minute substitute in the win against Wigan. He was largely a peripheral figure; he didn’t even touch the ball. But he loved every last second.
“It was a massive relief to get back out there,” he said, the smile on his face saying more than he ever could.
“It’s been a long time coming!
“To come out in front of our home crowd was absolutely brilliant. I didn’t get a touch but it was good to be back out there.
“Does an injury play on your mind, when you’ve been out of action for so long? Maybe, for the first couple of days. But after that not really, because the rehab that you do is all focused on the injury itself.
“The physios wouldn’t send you back on the pitch if you are not comfortable. And I got through a couple of development games so I knew I was going to be fine.”
Wednesday’s main task will be to keep quiet Rudy Gestede, with Jordan Rhodes also a threat that Lavery knows all about - as the duo were, briefly, team-mates at Ipswich before Rhodes earned an £8m move to Rovers after a goal-laden spell at Huddersfield Town.
“He was at Ipswich when I signed as a scholar, and I trained with him for a few weeks,” Lavery said.
“He was always talked about and in and around the set-up. Everyone always thought highly of him. He and Gestede are good players, but our back five has been superb. So it’ll be a good test for both teams.”