SCOTT Malone was convinced his season was over after injuring his knee against Burnley last weekend.
Millwall feared the left back, who hobbled off just seven minutes into the 2-2 draw at The Den, had damaged ligaments during an innocuous-looking tangle of legs.
But scans confirmed Malone has instead suffered heavy bone bruising, which is likely to keep him out for around a month.
"I thought my season was over and that this would be a long-term injury," the defender said. "I went straight down the tunnel and into the physio room.
"I've never had to come off in a game before so I was feeling pretty lonely. I was sitting there on my own with all sorts of things running through my head.
"It swelled up immediately which was quite worrying so they put me in a protective boot and on crutches until my scan. I went in on Monday morning, still quite swollen and sore – so much so that Bobby Bacic, the physio, couldn't actually test it at first.
"It took about two hours for the scan results to come back and thankfully everything was all clear. I've taken an almighty whack to my knee and there is a lot of bruising, but I think I've got away very, very lightly."
Malone added: "It was early in the game and I wanted to get tight to my man just to show him that I was capable of beating him. He's shown me a lot of the ball and at the time I thought if I could nick it off him and get away from him, we could have gone 1-0 up.
"I got my stud caught in his boot and I couldn't get it out. I fell and all of my weight went through my knee. As soon as I did it, I looked at my leg and thought, 'where is my kneecap?'
"I thought I'd broken something and that my ankle had gone as well. The sensation in my leg came back when I eventually went onto the pitch, but I couldn't walk on it so the best thing was to come off."
Manager Steve Lomas admitted he was relieved to hear that the injury was not as serious as first thought. He said: "We were very concerned so naturally we were delighted.
"The continuity of our team selection has been continually upset this season and Scott was finally getting a bit of rhythm going, but we've just got to get over it.
"The last thing we wanted was a long-term injury but it's just very frustrating for me that I cannot name the same team from one week to the next."