BRIAN Hurley's left leg shrunk to about a-third of its normal size following career-saving surgery on a second serious hamstring injury.
It's an indication of the huge battle the 27-year-old Cork and Castlehaven star had to endure before confounding medical opinion and resurrecting his inter-county career.
Hurley, a sales rep with Abco Kovex, the materials and machinery packing company, feared the worst when ripping a hamstring off the bone in a club game against Ballingeary.
“I came out of a 90 degree brace after eight weeks and my leg was about a third of the size of my right leg.
“That was frightening. I had a lot of lows at times but you have those on comebacks.
“You speak to any player recovering from injuries and they have those low points,” he told the Echo.
Hurley's determination to defy the odds was one of the key factors in his courageous fightback.
“What drives me on is the willingness of some people to tell me I won’t make it back.
“Fellas saying he is done, he is finished. That is what drives me on. I actually live off that stuff.
“I was told that I wouldn’t make it back to this level again and that they couldn’t operate on the hamstring again.
“But here I am and I think that is because hard work does pay off.”
Hurley's eagerness to start Saturday evening's Munster final against Kerry at Páirc Uí Chaoimh at 7pm is obvious, having missed the last two deciders.
He scored two cracking goals in the semi-final win over Limerick on the back of doing the same in the final league game up in Armagh.
Hurley, though, remains conscious of the on-going battle he faces to keep his body in shape.
“The hamstrings do tighten up a bit on occasion and I push myself a little too hard at times.
“I trained a bit hard before the Limerick game, but I was ok. I felt fatigued though coming off was just a precaution.
“Probably the hardest part of my training schedule now is that I need to do more on my hamstring to make sure the muscle is kept up but at the same time you don’t want to overdo it.
"That killer instinct or speed just wasn’t there. I am feeling it is back this year. Not back to where I want yet, but getting there," Hurley concluded.