When Kenny Cunningham suffered a collapsed lung, there was a fear that it might be the prelude to a collapsed-season.
But the Birmingham City captain has declared himself fit to face Fulham tomorrow, even if he is still suffering residual pain.
The Republic of Ireland defender sustained the injury in a pre-season friendly against Queens Park Rangers two weeks ago and there were fears that he would be forced to miss the start of the season.
Cunningham has trained all week and will join the squad for the trip to London this afternoon. Steve Bruce, the Birmingham manager, is always happier when Cunningham is in the starting line-up.
However, rumours persist that this could be the 34-yearold's final season and that he might retire because of concerns over his fitness. It was Cunningham who inadvertently sparked those rumours himself when he hinted that his legs might not take too much more Premiership football.
But he is still one of the most intelligent defenders in the Premiership and could yet be persuaded to extend his stay at St Andrew's.
"Kenny will be fit for Fulham," Bruce said. "He joined in training earlier this week. He even came in when the rest of the players had a day off, just to make sure he was going to be OK.
"We have had to treat the injury cautiously because it is painful. Kenny has done gym work and he has improved each day.
"He has suffered no reaction and from now on will be training as part of the squad. He plays an important part in our dressing room and we will certainly be strengthened by his return."
Cunningham has been a key figure for Blues since signing from Wimbledon in the summer of 2002. If he is ruled out for tomorrow's match at Craven Cottage, Martin Taylor is the obvious candidate to partner Matthew Upson in the centre of defence.
Taylor had been linked with a move to Celtic but Birmingham would not sell the defender, especially if there were concerns over Cunningham's fitness. Taylor also had to fill the breach at the start of last season when Cunningham missed the opening two games through suspension.
Cunningham's improved health is good news for Bruce, who is still coming to terms with the absence of Mehdi Nafti. The Tunisia international midfield player has been ruled out for the season because of damaged knee ligaments and Bruce is sure to find a replacement.
The Birmingham manager still has 18 days to locate a stand-in for Nafti before the transfer window closes but solid central-midfield players are rare and in demand.
Meanwhile, Cardiff City manager Dave Jones, the former Wolverhampton Wanderers boss, is the latest man to be linked with Blues striker Clinton Morrison.
The Republic of Ireland international is already the subject of interest from Championship duo Southampton and Sheffield United and Bruce has confirmed having received telephone calls concerning him.
Ideally, Bruce would want to keep the player, but he has become disillusioned with life on the substitutes' bench.
Morrison's problem is obvious. He is fourth choice, behind Emile Heskey, Mikael Forssell and Walter Pandiani and appears to see a future away from St Andrew's.