Bradley Dack says he is ready to attack his rehab, as the Rovers star is set to go under the surgeon’s knife for the second time in 15 months later this week.
The 27-year-old suffered a second ACL injury in the home game against Brentford earlier this month, which is expected to keep him out until the end of the year.
Dack had only returned to action at Christmas, having spent 12 months on the sidelines with a similar injury sustained at home to Wigan Athletic in December 2019.
But despite the devastating blow, the attacking ace is remaining in positive spirits, as he embarks on a familiar road to recovery, which he hopes will see him come back better than before.
“It’s a cruel game, but it’s part and parcel of football. It happens,” he told iFollow Rovers.
“I’ve been alright. I knew what it was straight away again, so I got my head round it quickly, like the first time. I’ve done it before, so it should be easier the second time.
“It’s tough to take, but I’ve got good people around me and good people at the club who I know will look after me, so I’m ready to attack it again.
“I don’t think there’s any other way you can be about it. If I was to sulk or just feel unlucky, it’s not going to benefit anyone, so I know that the best way to do it is to stay positive and attack the rehab for however long it may be.
“I’ve obviously had thoughts where you think ‘I can’t believe it’s happened again’, but it’s something that I snap out of quickly and remind myself that it’s just one of those things. I know that I did everything right the first time, so there’s no regrets or thoughts of ‘could I have done this more or done that more’, I didn’t leave any stone unturned, so it’s one of those things and you’ve just got to stay positive.
“Players have been through it and come out the other side, so there’s no reason why I can’t come back bigger and better and stronger again.”
Having worked so hard to get back fit and playing football the first time, Dack does admit it’s a bitter blow to have to go through the same rehabilitation process again so soon, but he feels it should be a more straightforward and structured journey second time around.
“It’s obviously really frustrating,” he added. “They’re tedious exercises, especially the first 12 weeks.
“I know what’s coming, I know what to expect, so it’s not something that will be new to me. I know the process, I spoke to the physio and we’ve gone through everything that I liked in the last rehab and everything that I felt didn’t really benefit me that much and we’ve come to an agreement as to how we’re going to structure the whole process.
“It’s a tough process to go through, especially the first time, because everything is new. To go through it again, you know what to do and how to get through it, and how your body is going to feel at each stage.”
Having returned to action against Sheffield Wednesday on Boxing Day, Dack admits it took him longer than expected to recapture his form following his lengthy lay-off.
However, having scored in back-to-back games against Millwall and Swansea, prior to the ill-fated Brentford fixture, he believes he was getting back to his best – which made the injury blow even tougher to take.
“It took me a bit of time to get there – probably more time than I expected,” Dack added.
“I pushed myself so hard through the rehab process, I always said I would come back bigger and stronger and better, and you just think it’s going to happen straight away and that’s not really the case.
“Missing 12 months of football, it takes a lot out of your body, physically and mentally, so it took me some time, but I thought I was getting back to the form that I showed pre-injury and I was starting to feel fitter and stronger, and felt like I was going to score goals, so really disappointing and frustrating for it to happen.”