Black Sticks striker Nick Wilson must has the patience of a saint considering how long his long-term knee injury has kept him on the sidelines.
The Palmerston North man hasn't played hockey in nearly a year, due to bone bruising to the end of his femur near the knee, which has plagued him since he got back from the club season in the Netherlands in June.
Initially he was waiting for it to heal and aiming to play in February, but found out it was worse than first thought and had to have surgery in February.
Doctors found the cartilage in the knee had delaminated away from the bone and they had to clean it up.
"I'm just taking it week by week," Wilson said. "The surgeon said six to nine months and that's back to full fitness. Hopefully I can start running in a month or two, but it just depends."
He is out of action until about August, putting him out of the reckoning for the Black Sticks World Cup squad to go to the Netherlands, later this month, and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
The last time he picked up a hockey stick in anger was in June for his Dutch club team Rotterdam, making it a hard year since.
"I've been through some stages. It's definitely frustrating but I can't do much about it."
He has used the layoff to finally finish his business degree, which he has been doing part-time for the past five years, and his grades have gone up while he hasn't been playing hockey.
It's been 3 months since surgery, and it has been a slow recovery with rehab seven days a week, but he hoped to play in the National Hockey League at the end of August.
"I'm a little bit scared, a bit apprehensive and excited about the come-back," Wilson said. "I've never felt really excited about hockey since I was 17 or 18."
The injury meant he hasn't played for the Black Sticks since the Champions Trophy in Melbourne in December, 2012.
He missed the second edition of the Hockey India League in February, where he was signed with the Ranchi Rhinos who won the competition last year and were third this season.
Now based in Auckland, Wilson has just started going to Black Sticks training again.
- Manawatu Standard
Should Manawatu's earthquake-prone buildings be yellow-stickered?Related story: Council won't use earthquake-risk stickers