The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP -

DERBY County defender Mark O’Brien is ready for a sum­mer of hard labour as he bat­tles back af­ter knee surgery.

Time out is noth­ing new for the 20-year-old, who has al­ready had heart and an­kle op­er­a­tions in his short ca­reer.

His lat­est set­back came in the warm-up be­fore the game against Sh­effield Wed­nes­day on Fe­bru­ary 9 and he had surgery last month.

“I have been told that the re­cov­ery process will take around six months and the first six to eight weeks is the hard­est part,” said O’Brien. “It is hard to pass the time but I am well aware that this is part of what I have to go through to get back play­ing again.

“It was a blow when I found out that it was go­ing to be six months but I have been told that if I am do­ing well by four to five months, then they won’t slow my re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion down.

“I have got my fin­gers crossed that it all goes ac­cord­ing to plan and I can push on.

“I suf­fered an an­te­rior cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment in­jury in 2011, and also had a de­fect on the knee, so I had an in­jec­tion to try to help things along.

“Then when I came back from the in­jury, I played for a few weeks but dur­ing that time, I barely trained. It just wasn’t get­ting much bet­ter at all.

“I turned up to the game at Sh­effield Wed­nes­day not feel­ing any dif­fer­ent than in any other game but when I went out to warm up, I felt pain in my knee straight away.

“I went back into the dress­ing room, got a bit of treat­ment and went back out to try again but it is dev­as­tat­ing when you are just try­ing to keep work­ing through the pain.

“When it came to the de­ci­sion of an op­er­a­tion, there was only a hand­ful of games left so we de­cided to get it done, which is go­ing to help me in the long term.

“There have been a lot of ups and downs for me re­cently but the only thing I can do is, hope­fully, come back next sea­son stronger and fit­ter.

“I hope this is the end of all the bad in­juries and I can get on with my ca­reer with­out many more set­backs.”

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