Returning Sydney forward Sam Reid can't recall an injury-marred AFL season of his being more frustrating than this, which is saying something given he is no stranger to setbacks.
Reid, who is set to play his first game of the year and bolster the Swans' depleted forward line in Saturday's SCG clash with Hawthorn, has managed 143 games for the club since being drafted in 2009.
The 28-year-old had seemingly turned a corner in 2019, getting through a full season without injury for the first time in his AFL career.
Only for a tweaked hamstring, knee operation and calf strain to curtail his hopes of getting on the park during the opening seven rounds of this current stop-start season.
Reid's latest stint on the sidelines has coincided with an injury crisis at the 16th-placed Swans, forcing coach John Longmire to repeatedly pick an undersized and incredibly inexperienced team after the COVID-19 shutdown.
"It's been a frustrating start to the year for many reasons," Reid said on Thursday.
"It's always frustrating watching, particularly with the youth we've got at the moment ... it's hard to replace experience.
"Having a few more experienced heads out there can be helpful. Hopefully this weekend I can bring a bit of leadership and direction among that young forward group."
Reid has been mentoring Tom McCartin, who himself only returned in last week's loss to Gold Coast after a month on the sidelines because of concussion.
Reid noted he hadn't had a proper chance to take any young key forwards under his wing in 2020.
"Because we haven't really had any keys out there," he said.
"It's an exciting bunch. (small forward) Tommy Papley has been doing a great job, he's the most experienced out there and playing like a man possessed.
"He's taken a lot on his shoulders.
"I'm looking forward to getting out there and giving him a hand."
Reid will tackle the Hawks this weekend provided he gets through Thursday's session and pulls up OK.
The 2012 premiership player is confident, having had a couple of tune-ups in scratch matches, that his body is ready for the rigours of AFL.
"It's disappointing to say, but I know what rehab is all about. I've been there plenty of times," he said.
"I'm confident with all the work I've done. Once I get through today, I'll look forward to having a strong season."