Nemanja Matic admits that he was forced to play through the pain at Manchester United last season, with surgery required over the summer in order to get him back to full fitness.
He was feeling the strain by the time those commitments came to a close and eventually had to go under the knife after returning for pre-season training in America.
Matic claims he is now free of the abdominal pains which had been holding him back, with the 30-year-old raring to go again after another enforced break.
He told Inside United after sitting out Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Wolves through suspension: “I’d had this injury for a few months and, when I went to America, in the first training session, I didn’t feel well and I asked the doctor to see what he could do.
“I had the operation in Philadelphia as, after the scan, the doctor recommended surgery as the only way to fix the problem. I feel good now.
“I could see I couldn’t give my best because this injury was serious. It was painful so I needed to fix it.
“Sometimes, you can play through the pain and I played the last few months of the season with the pain but I think, for this season, it was better to fix the problem.
“I didn’t want to spend time during the season fixing it as I need to be ready for the season that we have.”
Matic has remained an important part of Jose Mourinho’s plans this season.
He had cemented a starting berth upon his return to fitness prior to picking up a late red card in a 2-1 victory away at Watford.
That dismissal forced him to miss a disappointing stalemate with Wolves, with pressure having been piled back on the Red Devils in the wake of that result.
Having Matic back in the heart of their midfield should help United’s efforts to rediscover their spark, with a Carabao Cup third round clash with Derby on Tuesday set to be followed by a Premier League trip to West Ham on Saturday.