Since sustaining a knee injury in October last year, Braydon Ennor hasn't played any professional rugby.
But after just two games at club level, the All Blacks midfielder will return to the Super Rugby arena on the biggest stage possible.
Ennor has been named in the Crusaders' matchday 23 for their Super Rugby Aotearoa final against the Chiefs in Christchurch this weekend, set to provide utility value off the bench in the 23 jersey.
Ennor ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the North vs South match late last year. It was an injury that, while it looked innocuous, Ennor immediately had a pretty good idea of the damage he had done.
"I knew straight away on the field," Ennor recalled. "I think Sammy Whitelock was screaming at me to get up, and my knee sort of moved as I tried to get up.
"It was just the ACL that went; I was quite lucky. I had a few other things in the knee that got repaired in surgery, but that had happened a year or two prior. Whether that was the cause of the ACL going itself, I don't know. But it's all cleaned up now and I'm ready to roll."
It wasn't the first time he had suffered a serious ACL injury, rupturing the ligament in his other leg during his final year of high school.
While he knew what he was in for in terms of recovery, Ennor has been eager to get back out onto the field and admitted he had been discussing when he might be able to return weeks ago.
"I was talking to the physio about my return to play. Everything had been going really well, and this was before Jack [Goodhue]'s injury.
"So, we talked about playing a couple of games of club rugby before the final, but if I wasn't picked, no worries and I'd just carry on to transtasman."
With Goodhue being unavailable after he suffered significant damage in his left knee during the Crusaders' round seven win over the Hurricanes, Leicester Fainga'anuku has been deputising in the midfield.
Despite Ennor being available for the final, Fainga'anuku will remain in the starting side after what has been a strong campaign for him.
"Leicester has been fantastic at centre," Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said. "He's one of the form players in the competition.
"The reason Braydon's going to come on to the bench is experience for us and that depth if required at the end of the game."
While he's been on the sidelines for months, Ennor had no qualms over returning on such a big stage.
"At the end of the day it's footy. It's what I love and what I know, so I'm looking forward to it."
Crusaders: Will Jordan, Sevu Reece, Leicester Fainga'anuku, David Havili, George Bridge, Richie Mo'unga, Mitchell Drummond, Cullen Grace, Sione Havili Talitui, Ethan Blackadder, Sam Whitelock, Scott Barrett, Michael Alaalatoa, Codie Taylor, George Bower.
Reserves: Brodie McAlister, Tamaiti Williams, Oliver Jager, Mitchell Dunshea, Tom Sanders, Bryn Hall, Dallas McLeod, Braydon Ennor.