James Haskell feared he would never play again having suffered a serious foot injury on England's 2016 tour to Australia.
The Wasps flanker required surgery on his toe after being forced from the field during England's second-Test victory at AAMI Park in June, and only returned to action at the start of January.
In that time the 31-year-old missed 13 Premiership games for his club, as well as five England internationals, allowing Tom Wood to stake his claim for the openside jersey in the upcoming Six Nations.
And despite having missed out on an extremely successful autumn series for his country, Haskell is just glad to have put the injury behind him.
"It's been the hardest six months of my professional career," he told BBC Radio Five Live's Rugby Union Weekly podcast.
"There was a time when I thought I was never going to make it back.
"There were a lot of sessions where I would take three steps forward and two steps back, but we got there in the end."
When he finally did make his long-awaited comeback, it lasted less than a minute as he was knocked unconscious whilst making a tackle on Leicester Tigers' Freddie Burns, just 35 seconds after coming off the bench.
However, he returned to action once again on Sunday, playing 60 minutes as Wasps comfortably beat Zebre in the European Champions Cup, and he now has his sights set on regaining a place in Eddie Jones' side.
"There is so much competition there, it's very exciting," he added.
"To get an opportunity to be involved with Eddie Jones' coaching staff is a very special place to be.
"If I can get through the training week and head towards bigger things then that would be amazing."