SCOTLAND rugby internationalist Ruaridh Jackson begins his long road to recovery from injury today following a successful operation on his left knee.
The 26-year-old stand-off, who has won 23 caps for his country, moved to Aviva Premiership side Wasps from Glasgow Warriors over the summer.
Things down south started off really well for Jackson, who quickly got to grips with his new surroundings and a new squad and played his part in the pre-season matches and then the league opener against Saracens at Twickenham.
Then, the following week against Northampton Saints at Adams Park in his home debut, disaster struck.
He had come off the bench to replace Andy Goode and everything was going well until, while his side were defending, he tried to quickly change direction and felt his knee give way.
He recounts: “There was nobody really near me and it was a bit of a freak incident. I just fell to the ground and felt something pop in my knee and as soon as it happened I thought it was something pretty serious.
“I went for an MRI scan and that revealed that I had suffered an ACL tear and the early feeling was that I would be out for around six to nine months. To say I was gutted is a big understatement.
“I felt I had settled in pretty well to life at Wasps and I was really starting to enjoy my rugby. Now I face a long rehab period, but I just have to set myself small goals and keep working hard.”
The injury occurred on 14 September and last Wednesday Jackson had the operation and then returned home to his new property in Ealing, where he is living with his girlfriend, to rest up for the weekend and enjoy the Ryder Cup on the television.
Today, however, the hard work really starts.
He will be heading into the Wasps training ground to meet with the club’s medical and strength and conditioning staff to set out a comprehensive plan for his rehab.
Jackson is not somebody who is scared of hard work and he is determined to do everything by the book to make sure his knee recovers fully.
He said: “Having only signed a one-year deal with Wasps, and with the Rugby World Cup now just a year away, the injury could not really have come at a worse time, but that is just the life of a professional sportsman.
“I will be listening to all the advice the experts give me in the coming months whilst trying to stay involved with the squad as much as possible with analysis and watching opposition and such like.
“Obviously playing for Scotland again is also in the back of my mind at the moment, but I really can’t think of that just yet. I need to just concentrate on getting the knee right and then hopefully play a few matches at the end of the season for Wasps and take things from there.”