West Bromwich Albion striker Kevin Phillips put his own injury worries behind him to bring a little seasonal cheer to sick children during his club's annual Christmas trip to a Black Country Hospital.
And as he and his team-mates brought a smile to the young patients on the children's wards at Russell's Hall Hospital in Dudley, he revealed he had feared his own career might have been at an end after suffering an excruciatingly painful knee ligament tear.
Phillips, who is himself a father of four, said: "I enjoy meeting the children and putting a little smile on their faces. Some of these children will not go home for Christmas and, being a parent myself, nobody wants to see children in hospital at this time of year."
The 34-year-old former Aston Villa and Sunderland man, who is Albion's top striker this season with 11 goals, said he was pleased to be on the road to recovery after a difficult month.
He said: "I started back in training on Monday but I haven't set myself any targets on when I might be playing again.
"I am going to see how I get on and take it from there. I am glad to be back in training though. It has been a frustrating month."
Phillips added: "The knee has responded well to the treatment and being back in training. It felt okay a week or so after I had done it and I wanted to get training again but you can't rush these kind of things especially at my age.
"It all takes a bit longer but I am delighted to be back training now and I can't wait to be on the pitch and running around again."
Phillips admitted he had feared the worst initially. He said: "When the injury happened I did feel that potentially it could be serious.
"I even worried that might be my career finished. I have never felt pain like I did there in the whole of my career and I have had a few injuries in my time. I knew in my head that it might be potentially serious but luckily it hasn't turned out that way. It has kept me out for a month which I don't like and I have missed a few key games so far. I am gutted to miss any part of the season so it is good to be back."
Phillips said he could not explain why the team appeared to have been cursed by knee ligament trouble with three of his team-mates - defender Martin Albrechtsen, strike partner Ishmael Miller and young midfielder James Morrison - afflicted with the same injury.
He said: "It is a bit like waiting for a bus and then three all come at once! I have never known so many players get the same injury at the same time.
"We have had about five now in the team and that is amazing but then that is football. It has been a pure fluke and I can't believe so many first-team players have had knee injuries.
"It is bad that it has all happened at once at a time when we need all our players but, as I say, that is football. We have a good medical staff here and the lads have handled their injuries really well. It must have been a bit of a groundhog day for the physio, though, working on the same injuries but at least we could all do our exercises together!"
Phillips believes Albion have turned the corner now when it comes to recuperating and continued: "Hopefully in ten days or so you will probably see our medical room pretty empty. Luckily we have a big squad here who hopefully can cope with it."
Phillips said he would not be setting himself any targets for his return. "I don't want to give the supporters false hope on when I might be back," he said. "I am experienced enough to know when I am ready."
Phillips was full of praise for his stand-in striker, Czech Republic star Roman Bednar, who has scored three goals in as many games since stepping up to the plate.
He said: "He has come in and done really well especially when you consider he suffered a bit with his back. He has come in at a critical time and with pressure on him to score goals.
"That is why the manager has brought him here. He knows what Roman can do and he has shown that over the last few weeks and that is encouraging. He has also taken some of the pressure off me knowing that, if I can't get back so quick, Roman is able to step up and produce the goals."
Manager Tony Mowbray missed the hospital visit with flu but is hoping to be well before the weekend's Championship clash with Leicester City.
He has been given a real tonic, however, with not only Phillips being on the way back but Albrechtsen, Miller and Morrison are also due back in training next week and could be in contention for the team come Christmas.
Phillips added: "The Coventry result was a disappointing one for us but hopefully all the injured players will come back stronger. We have got to look to bounce back from that now. We have all got to stick together now and produce the goods."