CHRIS Lines has talked for the first time about the moment when his hopes of starting the Championship season in the Sheffield Wednesday side were dashed.
The midfield player had helped the Owls to win promotion and was ready for the next step-up in his career - playing in the second tier for the first time.
He showed such good form in pre-season that he was set to stay in the side despite an influx of summer signings.
But in the final friendly, against West Brom, he tore his groin in simply playing a routine pass.
When he lay motionless in the middle of the Hillsborough pitch it was obviously not a minor problem.
To then be told that he could be out for up to three months was a devastating blow to the former Bristol Rovers star who had never before suffered a serious injury.
He reflects: “At half time I felt a bit stiff in the groin area; thinking about it now, probably I should have come off straight away. But you can always say ‘what if’. I might have done it in the next game anyway.
“I went out for the second half. I was just about to come off when I passed the ball. It was innocuous, a soft pass. But I tore two groin muscles off the bone. It was something our physios said they had never seen before. It was new for all of us.
“There was obviously a weakness in that area that maybe had built up.
“I played a lot of games over the last four or five years without picking up any kind of injury.
“You’re not going to go through your career without picking up one or two injuries. I’ve been lucky up to this.
“The main thing now is to make sure it doesn’t become a regular thing. That was my first one. I’d like to think it will be my last.”
Lines has worked hard to regain his general fitness and to restore strength and flexibility to the area that was injured.
“I’ve done my work; hopefully it will pay off; hopefully the groin is stronger than it was before and nothing comes of it again,
”I’ve got an exercise programe that I’ll probably carry on doing throughout my career.”
Lines tells of his hopes for the season in the Green ‘Un on Saturday.