Swansea City midfielder Lee Lucas thanked the club's medical staff following his return to action for the Under-21s against Aston Villa on Monday night.
The 23-year-old has been out of action for 19 months after rupturing his anterior knee ligament during the 2014-15 season.
The midfielder, who has been in the Swans' youth system since the age of nine, came off the bench to play 45 minutes for the development squad during their narrow 2-1 defeat this week.
Despite the result not going the Swans' way, Lucas admitted the game was a personal victory on his long road to recovery.
"It was an amazing feeling to get back out on the pitch," he admitted. "It has been a long road to get to this position.
"I want to thank my family, friends and all the medical staff at the club for all their time and efforts to help me get this far. They have been brilliant with me throughout this whole time and I can't thank them enough.
"It was great to be back out there - it feels like I have never been away."
Lucas - who hails from Aberdare - made his senior debut for the Swans during the 4-0 win over Sheffield United in the Championship in May 2011.
With 45 minutes now under his belt, he aims to help the Under-21s push for play-off promotion and admits the hard work starts now.
"It is nice to be fit again and back training with the team day in, day out," He continued. "Hopefully I can just kick on from here and enjoy playing football again.
"I still need to keep working hard both on and off the pitch in order to get back to where I was.
"Our defeat against Aston Villa this week was a disappointing result but we have been doing well as a team over the last few weeks.
"It was very competitive match but I felt good out there. Now I know I am only a few weeks away from full match fitness.
"My aim now is to play more minutes with the Under-21s this season to help them go as far as they can in the league.
"I just need to take it game by game and stay focused to continue my recovery."