David Norris is relishing his second coming as he prepares for pain-free Pompey service.
A double hernia problem has dogged the goalscoring midfielder since the end of August.
It is a complaint which forced him to take painkillers and anti-inflammatories to mask the discomfort while playing.
Regardless, Norris was an ever-present until his sending off against West Ham back in January.
The subsequent three-match ban allowed the 31-year-old to go under the surgeon’s knife and fix the troublesome injury.
He returned to the Pompey fold last weekend against Leeds, coming on as a 76th-minute substitute.
Now Norris is pushing for a starting spot against Middlesbrough on Saturday.
And, spared of his injury agony, he is raring to go.
He said: ‘I’ve had it pretty much since about August and September. It has been a grind.
‘It was a tough one. I’ve had to miss a few training sessions and was on anti-inflammatories and painkillers.
‘I think it was coming to a head and in a weird way getting sent off probably gave me that chance to get it right.
‘Hopefully now I can come back quite fresh.
‘It is an overuse injury. I have played quite a lot of games in the last few years and it is the build-up of all of that.
‘Maybe I didn’t help myself knowing I was coming to a new club and wanted to keep myself in good shape.
‘I didn’t really want to rest, perhaps that wasn’t really helpful. It has not been too bad – a bit annoying really. A niggle but constantly there.
‘The last couple of weeks before the sending off I was really struggling a little bit and just trying to manage it.
‘I would feel it running – which is a big part of my game – and shooting.
‘Come the end, even sitting up in bed, turning over or lifting my knee up was giving me pain.
‘Once you get into a game you get a bit of adrenaline and it gets you through, while the physios have been great.
‘Hopefully that is sorted I can make an impact from now until the end of the season.’
Liam Lawrence, Kelvin Etuhu and Luke Varney are also hopeful of returning this weekend.
In addition, Dave Kitson is back following suspension.
Suddenly matters appear to be picking up on the injury front for Michael Appleton.
But Norris is well aware the squad size ensures there could be more setbacks at any moment.
He added: ‘There are lads out there playing through niggles and injuries whereas normally they would come out for a game, get sorted and come back.
‘Instead, they are having to stay on and play on because we are so light on the playing front.
‘But we’ve got a good bunch of lads and a good spirit there.
‘That is what we hope will carry us forward.’