Frank Ross has faced this adversity enough times to know there is little use in being negative.
When he thought he was clear of injury problems, plagued by two years of back and ankle trouble that accelerated the end of his Aberdeen career, disaster struck again.
Ross ruptured his cruciate ligament in the first half of Go Ahead Eagles’ cup contest with VVV Venlo on January 21, ending his season early after already overcoming a minor leg break suffered in training.
For those not used to prolonged periods of absence from training, extensive rehabilitation work and frustration at missing game after game, an injury like this could prove particularly challenging.
But for Ross, he is trying to turn a negative into a positive.
🙏 | 𝗦𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗸𝘁𝗲, 𝗙𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗸!
Voor Frank Ross is er een vroegtijdig einde gekomen aan het seizoen 2020/2021.
— Go Ahead Eagles 🦅 (@GAEagles) January 22, 2021
“I’ve been through all this before to know the worst thing you can do is be negative about it,” he said. “All you can do is be positive and just get on with it. There’s no point feeling sorry for yourself.
“I can use this five months in a positive way to get as strong as possible. The physical aspect of my game maybe was not the best before, so I’ve got five months in the gym to get stronger and hopefully that helps me when I get back.”
Ross has benefitted from some friendly advice to get his rehab in place. As soon as he found out the extent of the injury, he reached out to close friend Scott Wright, who went through the same experience last season.
He had an adventure of a journey back to his native north-east – Ross had to report a negative Covid-19 test, before getting the ferry from Amsterdam to Newcastle, then took a train back up to Aberdeen.
His mandatory 10-day isolation period was up at the end of last week and he was able to see renowned surgeon Gordon Mackay, who counts Wright and another ex-Don Mark Reynolds among his previous clients, ahead of his operation on Wednesday.
“I think it’s only a five-month recovery time, whereas the old ACL surgeries that they do everywhere else is a one-year recovery time. It’s a no-brainer doing it in Scotland,” said Ross.
“Scott Wright did the same last year and look at him now – he’s flying. As soon as I did my ACL I text Scott and said ‘what do you think is the best way to get surgery?’ and he recommended Gordon Mackay.
“Gordon is based at Ross Hall in Glasgow. I had to do my 10 days isolation but I think it was worth it for the quicker recovery time.”
Ross has quickly made himself at home in Deventer, embracing the change of culture on and off the pitch.
He has made 18 appearances for the Eerste Divisie side since joining last year, signing on a two-year contract after leaving the Dons.
“The club have been amazing,” added Ross. “The players have been texting me, asking how I’m doing, the coaches as well. People around the town too – it’s been surprising how supportive they have all been.
“You don’t know what’s going to happen in life. Maybe I get a few games, a few goals. I feel I do deserve a break (from injuries) but we will see.
“If all goes well, I could be back by August or September, which gives me a good run. This is by far the best route I am taking.”
An ex-Scotland youth international, with loan spells at Morton and Ayr United under his belt, Ross’ biggest moment in an Aberdeen shirt came with a goal against Rangers in 2017.
But after fitness issues derailed his chances of staying in the Granite City, he looked for a fresh start. Few would have imagined it would come abroad and while injuries have meant it has been a stop-start first year in the Netherlands, Ross is looking up.
“There are positives,” he said. “I’ve been able to come back home. The treatment from Gordon – you look at Mark Reynolds, I don’t think he’s missed a game since he did his ACL two years ago. Scott Wright has got a big move to Rangers.
“A couple of years ago you’d be thinking an ACL injury could be the end of your career. But now, there’s so many success stories after getting this injury.”