Normally any footballer will tell you there’s nothing worse than being injured and having to spend most of your day sitting on a treatment table.
However, as Dundee United attacker Nicky Clark can testify, there is – being told you’re crocked and the only cure is rest.
That’s happened to him twice in his first season with the Tangerines and the only consolation during those spells were the reassurance from boss Robbie Neilson he was a big part of the plans.
The 27-year-old’s problems started back in pre-season, even before Neilson was appointed, when he was hit by tendonitis in both Achilles tendons.
That eventually led to him being told to rest for five weeks and, when he battled his was back to fitness, he was struck down by bone inflammation in his left leg, with rest again being the only cure.
“The first one I think I picked up in pre-season with the hard grounds because of the hot summer,” he said.
“I tried to play through it but it became too much. I was told I had to just leave it and do nothing weight bearing for five weeks.
“I was on the bike every day which is a nightmare when the rest of the lads are out training. I then came off the bench a couple of times and felt good when I played 90 minutes against Alloa in November.
“But I ended up getting bone inflammation in my left leg which is another one you just have to rest for four or five weeks until it gets better.
“It was one I’d never heard of. When I’ve been injured before it’s been wee knocks that took a couple of weeks at most to clear and you could get treatment for but with these ones I couldn’t do anything.
“The physio was great with me but when you just have to rest it’s very frustrating.”
That’s where the manager came in and Clark admits, but for that intervention, his mood would have been much darker.
“The gaffer showed a lot of faith in me because when he came in I was injured. He was speaking to me every day and telling me I was in his plans and that was a big help.
“Then he brought me on in the Dunfermline game a few weeks back when I had only trained once that week and I was able to repay him by scoring the winner.”
Now completely over those fitness problems, Clark has started the last two games and chipped in with another winner as United beat St Mirren in the Scottish Cup last weekend.
He’d like nothing better than another goal and victory tomorrow when he heads for his old stomping ground at Queen of the South.
Delaying Doonhamers goal machine Stephen Dobbie from breaking a record he jointly holds would also be nice.
Clark scored 41 goals in all competitions in the 2012/13 season to match the tally of Jimmy Rutherford way back in 1932 but accepts, with 38 so far this term, Dobbie will surpass that.
“I think he might beat it now to be fair but it was a good time in my career.
“I was still quite young but I think it was 41 or 42 in 46 games so it’s a happy memory for me.
“Dobbie is a joy to watch. I’ve played against him and he is obviously a great talent.
“He’s played at the highest level down in England. We know his threats and we’ll need to stop that.
“When I was scoring down there it was on grass, so it’s a wee bit different going down now with the plastic pitch.
“I do prefer to play on grass but it is what it is, you just get on with it. We just need to get our heads round it.”