Hearts winger Sam Nicholson admits he breathed a huge sigh of relief after being told that his knee injury will not shorten his career.
The 21-year-old underwent an operation last week to have a cartilage problem mended and is expected to be out for up to three months.
But any disappointment about facing a temporary spell on the sidelines was soon put into context after the former Scotland Under-21 cap was warned that a couple of years would have been knocked of his career had the surgeon not been able to preserve the damaged meniscus.
Nicholson, who has scored four goals in nine appearances this season, said: “The operation went well, I’m lucky because it could have gone two ways.
“Sometimes if it’s bad they have to shave the cartilage off but luckily for me they managed to save the meniscus and it’s about me trying to heal now.
“I’m happy with that. If I had to get some of the meniscus taken out then it would have maybe been a couple of years off the end of my career, which would have been worse but I’m happy it never went that way.
“I”m looking at being out for about three months but it may be quicker.
“I don’t want to rush it, I know my body and if it feels good I’ll try and get back, if not I’ll take my time. It’s not the end of the world.
“I’m obviously gutted about picking up the injury but through the period I’m injured I just need to stay positive and try and be as positive as I can.
“I’ve had problems with my knee for a wee while but it wasn’t anything serious that I had to stop playing.
“I came off in the last ten minutes against Motherwell and a week after that the physio checked my leg and realised I couldn’t straighten it properly.
“I went for the scan and discovered I had torn my meniscus cartilage, which isn’t great.
“I have to have a positive mental attitude and hopefully that will help me to get better.”
Nicholson admits he was thrilled to wake up from the operation to messages from the entire squad.
Speaking to Hearts TV, he added: “After the op I woke up to texts from just about every single player in the team and that shows the bond we have as a team, it was good for me knowing I’ve got those people there for me.”
Nicholson, who could return at the end of January, will wear a knee brace for the first two months but is still planning to strengthen other parts of his body in the gym.
He added: “It’s about resting up and building the upper body. For me, it’s something I need to be doing because I’m not blessed with the strength side of things.
“That’s something I’ll work on in the coming months.
“It’s uncomfortable and right now I’m only allowed to bend my knee to a 30 degree angle at most.
“After two months I get to take the brace off and then I can start moving a bit better.
“It’s going to take its time but after I get the brace off I’ll try and build my lower body.”