FORMER Luctonians skipper Chris Jaques is nearing a return to first-team action just four months after suffering an horrific injury in training.
Jaques has been given the all-clear to return to training following a freak injury in which he fractured an ankle in two places and suffered a dislocation.
Jaques believes that quitting smoking two weeks before the injury has helped his recovery.
The line-out jumper also sustained a broken fibula in the incident, which happened just days before Luctonians' derby against Bromsgrove.
“The first thing people said to me was 'you will struggle to come back from the injury'', he said. "But that put the bit between my teeth.
“My ankle is stronger than ever with the help of conditioning coach Ady Watts and the strength and conditioning team.
“I went back into hospital before Christmas to have two of the screws removed from my injury and the medics snapped off one in there.
“I have been told that one of the biggest things that helped me was that I stopped smoking a fortnight before the injury.
Jaques' injury occurred in Luctonians’ first ruck of a team run in September when he was collapsed on.
“It was team run – my studs got stuck in the ground - there was not any contact and I went over," Jaques recalled. "I heard three bangs and that was it.
"It was one of those freak things. It was a bit of shock of how easily it can happen.
“I was signed off work from September until Christmas but I only had 10 days off work. I am not someone who enjoys being stuck in the house."
Jaques said his first reaction to his injury was to keep away from the club.
"I didn’t want anything to do with the club. I blanked myself from the team and then I realised that I was missing my mates and I wasn’t doing myself any favours.
"I have tried to get involved a bit and that has helped with my rehabilitation and I got the all-clear last Wednesday."
He added: "It’s all good – I now have to build up the rest of me and go again. I just can’t wait to get back playing now."