Aaron Downes has spoken of the ‘nightmare’ surrounding his knee injury which has kept him sidelined since last February and will keep him out of action for the rest of the season.
The popular defender had another operation last week which will prevent him playing any football at all this term but has handed a big pat on the back to the Spireites and manager John Sheridan for the way he has been treated while he has been injured.
Downes (25) said: “I was back training with the lads and everything was going well but my knee was not quite right.
“I got to about 90 per cent but could not get to 100 per cent by myself. My knee felt a bit loose, a bit weak.
“I went to see the surgeon in London and he suggested another operation. I had it last week and my right leg will be in a brace for around four to six weeks and it means I’m unlikely to play any football this season.
“But I will be raring to during the summer and the time off will give me an extra few weeks to make sure I am properly fit for the start of pre-season training.’’
The Australian-born centre back initially damaged his cruciate ligament in April, 2009, in a game against Darlington at Saltergate when he landed awkwardly after leaping for a high ball.
The Blues No 15 went under the knife, recovered and worked hard to win his place back in the starting line-up.
He made his comeback in January, 2010, but the problem reoccurred seven games later at Port Vale and Downes has not played competitive football since then.
It was hoped that he would be available for selection Christmas but niggles with his knee saw his comeback date pushed back and back.
He added: “The cruciate itself is fine but I had to have this second op to strengthen the outside of the knee.’’
The 6ft 1in star, who has played for Australia U20s and U23s, admitted the last few months had been a frustrating period.
He said: “It’s not fun being injured - it’s a nightmare. I will not be able to do a lot for the next few weeks but I hope to be back in full-time training by the end of the season.
“I would like to give credit to the gaffer and the club for the way they have looked after me while I have had this injury. I am sure other clubs would not have treated me so well. So full credit is due to the club and the manager.’’
The enforced spell out of action has given Downes the chance to add another string to his bow.
He has started a degree in sports journalism at Staffordshire University in Stoke and he has written an In My Own Write column for the Derbyshire Times, a blog for the Spireites matchday magazine and has given live match commentaries on Peak FM. Work with the BBC is also planned
Downes joined Chesterfield in 2004 when he was signed by former manager Roy McFarland and has since made around 170 appearances for the club.