A wrong diagnosis from a doctor left Peter Leven thinking he would be out for a year with a serious knee injury.
The Scot believed he had severely damaged cruciate knee ligaments and spent 30 minutes on his own before being corrected.
Leven was stretchered off in Oxford United’s 2-1 defeat at Northampton on Good Friday and taken straight to hospital.
X-rays showed there were no broken bones, but the midfielder was incorrectly told some devastating news.
“The doctor said I’d snapped my cruciate,” he said.
“I was stuck in a room for half an hour by myself nearly in tears because I was thinking ‘that’s a year out at least’.
“I’ve done it before on the other leg and I didn’t want to go through that again.
“Then the physio came in and said he couldn’t tell from the x-ray, it needed a scan to tell, but even then the thought was still in my head and I couldn’t sleep until I got my results.
“Thank God it was just bone bruising.”
Scans showed within 48 hours there was no serious damage and he only missed two games, returning for the U’s 1-1 draw with Plymouth Argyle last weekend.
Leven is still not 100 per cent fit and swelling in his knee after the game prevented him from training yesterday.
But the 28-year-old, who has been playing for several weeks with a shoulder problem which may require surgery this summer, is happy to take painkillers so he can play against Southend United tomorrow.
He said: “If the manager selects me I’ll play.
“Even if I was in a wheelchair I’d still put my hand up, I’m the type of player who will go through the pain for the team.
“I want to be involved and I’ll take whatever I can to play.”
And Leven is clear about what is needed in the battle for a play-off place.
He said: “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, it’s a must-win game because we have to put pressure on Crewe.
“We’ve got to do our job and hope someone else takes points off them.
“At the end of the season you just don’t know how it’s going to go – it could be a scrappy 1-0 or we could play brilliantly and win 3-0.
“The most important thing is we get the result, I don’t care if the winner’s an own goal or the referee heads it in.”
l Big match preview: Pages 38-39