Being on the sideline is no fun for any sportsman or woman.
But, being on the sidelines for over 800 days seems to make a month-long injury pale into insignificance.
And, that’s exactly what has happened for Huddersfield Giants forward Chester Butler.
Having signed from Halifax in 2019, the 26-year-old has played just one game for Huddersfield in three seasons following three severe injuries.
Butler is, however, on the mend, having returned to training three weeks ago ahead of the 2022 Super League season.
“It’s getting there, if I’m being honest I’d say two months I wouldn’t have ben too optimistic,” Butler told Serious About Rugby League.
“I’m coming back from three surgeries. but I’ve been trying to do rehab on one injury and then another comes along and stops that previous rehab.
“It’s been really frustrating – I got a knee injury and then I got two hernias and needed hip surgery, which meant I could only have half surgery on the knee whilst trying to fix the other issues.
“I’m back in training and I feel miles better – I’m fitter and stronger now than before I got injured.
“In a way, it’s done me a world of good and has probably added a few years to the game as my shoulders and body haven’t taken a battering.”
Not only has it been tough physically for Butler, but it’s been a tough gig mentally also being out of the side for so long.
“It’s been pretty ruthless mentally, I think for any player being out a couple of months can be mentally draining.
“A lot of players at Huddersfield have been injured for three or four months, some of have done their ACLs and I’m still sat on the sidelines.
“You get used to it and being in the rehab room, on numerous days I’ve been sat in the corner and just played on my phon feeling sorry for myself.
“But, I’ve given myself a talking to and picked myself up when I’ve needed to.”
Injury has kept Butler out for over 800 days, but with his contract running out at the end of 2022, the 26-year-old is desperate to earn game time elsewhere.
“I want to get game time, but I want to play smart,” Butler told Serious About Rugby League.
“I spoke to my agent regarding getting out on loan as I want to feel confident in games, there’s no point training to play on the wing or somewhere where you don’t want to play.
“It doesn’t help my game and it doesn’t help the club – I want to get comfortable at a club, I want to play second-row.
“I can play centre but I prefer it in the pack.”
Former Halifax forward, Butler, wants to impress Huddersfield enough during the season in a loan move so as to earn a recall back to the John Smith’s Stadium.
“I want to smash the first half of the season, the first game might take me to acclimatise, but I want to be the best man on the pitch every game.
“Hopefully Huddersfield will say ‘Chester is doing alright’ and then they might bring me back in.
“This year is different for me, I need to go full out – I’ve never been so motivated and optimistic about what’s going to happen.
“I need to get in the right environment.”