With a return to the team in his sights, Crackers talks us through his long injury lay-off and the mental strength needed over the past three months.
- Latics Listen - Michael Jacobs speaks about his injury on the club podcast.
- Crackers has been out since October with a hamstring injury.
- Jacobs is set to return to the match day squad against Aston Villa this weekend.
It's been more than three months since we last saw Michael Jacobs in a Latics shirt. After a positive start to the season with two goals on the opening day against Sheffield Wednesday and a number of standout performances over the opening two months, Crackers was ruled out due to damage to his bicep femoris, an injury which required surgery for the best recovery results.
But now, the 27-year-old is back in contention and due to be involved for the first time since our away defeat to Preston North End.
Speaking about the injury in episode 21 of Latics Listen, Jacobs recalled the build-up to his injury, the rehabilitation process and how a positive mindset has not only helped him through the recovery, but others as well.
"At the time I felt like something wasn't right. I went to London to see a specialist and once I was told what the rehab period was going to be I could get my head around it.
"To play the first lot of games and then be out for three months has been very hard for me.
"The staff here have made that process a lot easier than it could have been, they're brilliant, they've been different class.
"Because of where the injury was in my hamstring the period out was always going to be 12 weeks, regardless of how hard I worked on it.
"Originally it happened in the Stoke game. I came off and the report came back as a tear in my hamstring. There was a four-week period when I had it back feeling really good, but later down the line in the Preston game it didn't feel right.
"There wasn't a pop or pull, it wasn't a feeling in an instant like some injuries, but the longer the game went on, the worse it got. We were 4-0 down and I didn't want to come off, but it stopped me from playing my normal game.
"As soon as the swelling came up on the Sunday morning, I had a bad feeling that something was seriously wrong.
"When I got the scan back, the specialist said the best thing for me was to have an operation. I had a rupture in my bicep femoris and the only way to heal it properly was to have it repaired.
"It was disappointing because I started the season quite well."
On how he's dealt with the injury lay-off, Jacobs continued:
"I always come into the training ground and be positive. It's tough because if you're out injured, the last thing you want to do is get people down around you, including the players who are still playing more than anything.
"It can have a bad impact if you're in a negative mood, it rubs off on other people.
"I've always tried to approach being injured with an open mind and I've embraced everything I've been asked to do. Even though my hamstring wasn't right, I've tried to improve other bits of my body that perhaps weren't in the condition they should have been beforehand.
"Even though I've been out of the team, it's been a positive time for me in some respects because it's allowed me to come back stronger both physically and mentally."
With a place in the squad on offer against Aston Villa this weekend, Jacobs said it's always been penned in that he'd return around this time of the month.
"I've always been scheduled to return this month. I've had three weeks on the grass before joining in with the main training group.
"It's been frustrating to be at the games and see us struggle, but I've got my head around it to prepare myself as best as I can to be ready and that's going to be this weekend.
"It's all about getting confidence back and training normally without any apprehension of risk. The more you think about something happening, the more likely it is to happen. I'm in a good place fitness wise, but I've got to take my time and know when my body is tired. Things can't be rushed, but at the same time you can't have any fear about it.
"I'm 27 now, so I'm more experienced and know how I need to build myself back up."