Rugby league fans could be forgiven for wondering if they'd seen the last of veteran hard-man Micheal Luck in Warriors colours.
The 30-year-old second rower has been through four operations since last October and announced his intention to retire at the end of the current NRL season two months ago.
The situation was reminiscent of Steve Price's final season two years ago where he failed to take the field due to a mystery heel injury. However after being named to come off the bench for the Warriors in Saturday's game against the Sharks, Luck told ONE News that he had done everything in his power to make sure he could play a part in his final season in the game.
"When I made the decision before the season started whether this was going to be my last season, I always had it in my mind that I wanted to come back for the back half of the season and go out on a good note," he said today.
"Now I get the chance to come out and do it and I suppose I've only got 15 games at most left in my career so I'll just try and enjoy every one of them."
Luck's time away from the game seemed to drag on forever after he was initially booked in for post-season surgery to repair a severely damaged finger and also had another operation at the same time when it was discovered he had broken his wrist in last year's NRL grand final loss to Manly.
More surgery was needed after he aggravated a shoulder complaint which had troubled him for the best part of two seasons. While he was recovering from that, he suffered yet another setback in February when it was revealed his left wrist hadn't healed properly, forcing him back into the operating theatre for a bone graft operation and a severely delayed start to his year.
"It's been a while, I'm just itching for the weekend to get out and get my first run, first tackle, make sure they're good ones and ease my way back into it."
He admits there are still ongoing problems with his wrist and will have it heavily taped ahead of Saturday's match in Cronulla.
"This isn't something that's going to be completely healed for a long long time so for the moment, structurally everything's good and it's just more preventative than anything else."
Luck is expected to play half of the game off the bench and said it will take him a while to get back to full strength
"I've done plenty of running, but match fitness will be a problem for the first couple of weeks, but I've just got to be smart about that and try and work my back into it slow and steady for a start and in a couple of weeks hopefully I'll be back to playing full games."