CHRIS Brunt has revealed he feared his season was over when he was injured in a freak accident against Manchester United almost a fortnight ago.
Scans have since revealed he suffered medial ligament damage to his right knee after Robin van Persie pushed Wayne Rooney into him in the Hawthorns encounter.
And the Baggies skipper, who feels he was in his best form at the time, is grateful the five to six-week prognosis on his recovery means his say in where the club finish this term is not over.
“I’ve been happy with the way I’ve been playing more or less since Christmas,” said Brunt.
“I’ve been a regular in the team since then.
“To not be able to help turn draws into wins is disappointing but you get on with it and support the lads in what we’re trying to achieve.
“They made a good start of it on Saturday and if they can keep winning games it makes my rehab a lot easier to do.
“I was gutted when I got injured, especially with the nature of the games coming up against the teams around us.
“It was only a matter of time before we got a result and to not be involved in that on Saturday was gutting.
“But I was delighted for the lads and everyone else.
“The results haven’t been coming but we’ve been working hard on the training field.
“There was relief on everyone’s face.
“To take a lot of fans down that far to Swansea and get a result is a bonus.
“Hopefully that can be a turning point and we can look up from here.
“That drags Swansea back in and around us as well and if we can get the points against Hull on Saturday it takes us above them – and people have been saying how well they’ve done.
“Hopefully we can go above them at the weekend.”
The Northern Ireland international has also set himself the challenge of making an earlier than expected return to action.
“Anytime I’ve been injured in the past I’ve always managed to get back before the initial timescale,” he added.
“I was worried the injury was going to be worse that it is before the scans.
“At the time it was pretty painful.
“When the scan came back I was gutted to be missing the games, but in the back of my mind I was relieved because it could have been a lot worse.
“It was a pretty freak accident – van Persie ran into Rooney and Rooney fell onto me.
“It was weird and I think it was a good job I got my foot out of the way just in time because if it had been planted it could have been worse.
“But at the time I was thinking my season was over.
“Everything is going pretty well so far.
“I’ve got a lot of gym work to over the next few weeks and the quicker I can get back outside the better.
“When you’re doing rehab on your own it’s a bit of a nightmare.
“You can only feel sorry for the likes of Zoltan [Gera], who was out for a year.”
Before Brunt was sidelined he took the honour of becoming Albion’s all-time record international caps holder outright, with 36 caps for Northern Ireland.
And he hopes it is a record he can hold onto, with Gera hot on his heels with 35 for Hungary.
“Before I arrived at West Brom I was in and out of the Northern Ireland squad and on the bench,” he said.
“Since I’ve been here, and the club has progressed, I have become a regular.
“Any honour or recognition you get for club and country is nice.
“When you end your career you’ll look back on things like this and if I still have that record it will be something to tell the kids.”