These last few months with limited exposure to Sturart Holden and his legendary hair have been rough on all of us, bleak even. Fear not though, as Monday everyone's favourite Texan-Scot (perhaps the only Texan-Scot) returned to Bolton. The club tweeted this picture of him at the time and today have published this interview with the charismatic midfielder.
"It's been great to be able to work hard and isolate myself but at the same time I have missed being around the guys. It's nice to be back in all the banter and it has put a smile on my face. I've been able to draw more enthusiasm to get through this last part of my rehab. I've been working five days a week, doing two sessions a day which have each lasted for three hours. I've been doing that for almost three months now whilst I was over in Delaware - maybe some of the fans have seen what I've been up to with my video diaries on YouTube?"
If you have been paying close attention, you will have seen his video diaries as we've been posting them as Fanshots. To check them out click here, here, and here. Anyway this does unfortunately mean that you shouldn't expect him back any time soon. He does still have more rehab work to do, and then once that is over he'll have to put in at least a couple of weeks with the reserves to regain match fitness.
"Rehab work is a funny thing because it happens in fits and spurts. There are times when it might feel monotonous and boring and there have been times when I've been pulling my hair out because I've wanted to do more. But I'm trying to give myself the best chance to heal properly and get back to 100 percent. My trainer in America, James Hashimoto, had done a good job of mixing things up to keep it interesting...
"He has been in constant contact with the medical team here at Bolton and the great thing is that everyone has been working together and have kept each other in the loop. They have been discussing every stage of my rehab and there has been a firm plan. I've been really happy with the way that it has all panned out. Now I'm really excited to get back here and push on with the next step of my work with the club's medical staff. A lot of people have asked when I'm going to be back playing and I don't have a definitive answer. I'm not really worried about that because my focus is all about making sure I'm fully fit once I do get back on the pitch."
The fact that he has taken it slow is especially important given his body's apparent vulnerability to these sorts of injuries. It must have been incredibly frustrating going through the same slow, painful process just after returning from his last rehab, but it is a testament to his character and love of the game.
"The coverage in the States has got a lot better and I didn't miss a single Bolton game whilst I was over there, no matter what time the kick-off was. There was a local soccer bar near to where I was working out. I got up extra early for the QPR game a few weeks ago and, along with some fans, we watched the match even though it was a 7.45am kick-off American time.
"I'm looking forward to experiencing the Reebok again this weekend. I saw the atmosphere on the television for the Blackburn game and it was special - even though I was in America I still got chills and could sense it. Speaking to the guys as well, they say it's the best they have ever known. I hope the support continues in that way and the fans get behind the lads against Fulham. You see the way everyone has rallied behind the team and we have won three in three."
Stu might not have missed a single Bolton game, but every Bolton game missed him. On a more serious note: how jealous are you of the Delaware Bolton fans, getting to watch the game in a bar with Stu?!
"We are such a close squad here and even though I've been away and isolated, it's nice to know that the lads still think about me with text messages to check how I'm doing. It makes you still feel a part of the team and that is why it's nice to be back to see them all.
"The guys have also been passing on the updates with how Fabrice is progressing. When it happened it was obviously devastating news for everyone because Fab is such great character and we all like having him in and around the dressing room. I've reached out to try and go and see him but I know that he needs to be given time and space as he continues to recover. As soon as I get a chance, I'll be down there in a second."
The closeness of the squad, and the club in general is what makes Bolton special. Even though this is just another step in his recovery, it's great to have Stu back at Bolton.