NORTH Melbourne star Jaidyn Stephenson has barely missed a beat in pre-season training despite fracturing his hip in a boozy bike accident in August.
Stephenson was admitted to hospital after attempting a trick on his bike in his backyard after having drinks with friends.
The 22-year-old revealed it was the worst pain he has ever experienced, but coach David Noble offered his support despite initially being disappointed.
"I was at home with my roommates. The season had just ended about a week before and we were having a bit of fun, letting our hair down and having a few drinks," he told North Melbourne media.
"I had the poor judgement of getting on my bike which, as we know, didn’t turn out too well.
"I spoke with Nobes (coach David Noble) about two days after … he was more disappointed than angry. We had a good honest chat, and as much as he wasn’t happy with me he put his support behind me.
"It’s definitely something I regret, not only the embarrassment of it, but the sheer pain I was in for the next week or two was just excruciating and the worst pain I’ve ever been in."
Despite the serious injury, Stephenson was at the club for day one of pre-season and hasn't missed a session.
"I was able to spend my 11 weeks off rehabbing it and getting back up to speed, [and] I got back to training on the same day as the first- to fourth-year players," Stephenson said.
"I think people thought I was going to be in rehab for quite a while, but I only did the one session in the rehab group and then integrated back into the main group.
"Everything’s tracking quite nicely and it hasn’t disrupted me all that much."
Stephenson has worked hard in his recovery and is desperate to repay the club's faith in him with a big 2022.
"I’m lucky to have my own gym set up at home so I was able to keep fit that way," he said.
"About week eight or nine I started coming into the club and using the Alter-G machine we have here which decreases the weight you run at.
"(Reconditioning coach) Daniel Cross and (Head of Performance) Kevin White were probably the two biggest [influences] in getting me back up to speed to come back for day one.
"‘Crossy’ gave his time and was in here every day, so I did my Alter-G sessions with him and then weights afterwards. Having known Kev from the Pies, it was really good to come in and know the new guy who was running my rehab program.
"It’s been a blessing … I’ve got to repay the faith this season, and hopefully I can have a big year."