Chelsea skipper John Terry admits the club's on-field woes drove his incredible injury comeback as he was jogging again only two days after knee surgery.
Terry earned a shock place in the squad for last night's FA Cup fifth-round win at Birmingham, less than a fortnight after undergoing a procedure that was expected to sideline him until next month.
The 31-year-old, who was an unused substitute in what was Chelsea's first game since Andre Villas-Boas was sacked as manager, is now targeting a recall in Saturday's Barclays Premier League game against Stoke.
The Blues have badly missed Terry's leadership and defensive skills since he was first ruled out of action at the end of January and his return would be a huge boost to their hopes of salvaging their season.
"Once I had the operation I was literally jogging about after two days, which was incredible," Terry told Chelsea TV. "I said to the physios, the way things were here, I just wanted to push myself and be involved and try to get back as quickly as possible.
"I've done that, worked really hard in the gym, been on triple sessions going back late in the evening on my own as well - which has been tough. The target for myself was always to get back and hopefully be back for the Stoke game, so this is a massive boost for me."
Terry played through the pain of the knee problem he picked up colliding with a post in January for almost a month before being diagnosed rest, but he failed to recover and was forced to have an operation.
"There's no pain at all," he said. "I'd spoken to the surgeon as well, because I didn't want to just rush into it.
"My meniscus, there was a bit of bone just floating off of that and he just had to shave it away. He didn't touch the knee whatsoever."
As a result of the injury, Terry could only watch as Chelsea's miserable campaign lurched from crisis to crisis. They went five matches without a win in his absence before beating Bolton a week and a half ago but defeat at West Brom on Saturday meant the end for Villas-Boas.
Player power was said to have been one of the factors in the Portuguese's downfall and Terry admitted Chelsea's squad needed to look in the mirror.
"Sad for Andre, because unfortunately it falls on his head, when I think the players would hold their hands up and say, 'Clearly, we've not been good enough and we all made mistakes together'. He's the man whose head's on the block and unfortunately goes," Terry said.