Scott Hooper’s Peterhead career was interrupted before it really got started.
An ankle injury sustained in the Betfred Cup opener against Cove Rangers has hampered the summer signing for the best part of two months.
He attempted a comeback against Formartine United last month, which was aborted after a reoccurrence of the problem suffered against the Highland League champions.
It is the longest Hooper, who joined from League 2 side Annan Athletic, has had to sit on the sidelines and watch his team-mates. Damage to his ankle ligaments and bone bruising have checked his progress, restricting him to three brief appearances in Peterhead colours.
“The fans probably think ‘where’s this player we signed in the summer?’”, said Hooper. “I played four or five pre-season games then it happened 15 minutes into my competitive debut in a 50-50 tackle. It’s not what you’re wanting.
“No-one was sure what it was to start with. I was desperate to get back straight away but the physio said if it was bone bruising, then it could take up to 12 weeks. After two weeks I tried to run but the impact was making it worse. I had a setback against Formartine United and just had to stop.
“I’ve never really been injured, only maybe for the odd week or two. It’s coming up for 10 weeks – it’s not been fun watching the boys training when I’m coming up just to get physio. I would rather be out there.”
Hooper has continued to travel up from Annan for treatment and training, coming through Tuesday’s session unscathed on his return to fitness.
He added: “It’s part and parcel of playing football – you’re still expected to go up as at the end of the day, Peterhead are paying you. You can’t just say you’re not coming.
“It was good to be back out there on Tuesday. It’s probably just a week too early to be back involved. Maybe next week I’ll feel more confident (about the ankle).”
The Blue Toon take on Montrose today in League 1, looking to pick up their third win of the season against the division’s bottom side. Manager Jim McInally will have a near full-strength squad to choose from for the trip to Links Park.
The support from McInally has been a huge help for Hooper in his bid to get back on the field.
He said: “He’s always been asking me how it’s progressing. You don’t want to feel like you’re left in the dark, you want reassurance.”