Former England flanker Tom Wood hopes to return for the Premiership play-offs – if Northampton qualify – three months after a serious blood clot in a lung.
But Wood has resumed non-contact training and says he would “play tomorrow if the specialist let me”.
“I’m probably guilty of pushing it – I was back on a bike, training and running within a week,” Wood said.
He told BBC Look East: “I feel 100% – in fact I feel better than ever because I’ve had such a long time out of contact and collisions.”
Wood was taken to hospital after waking up one morning unable to breathe, with a “real tightening” in his chest.
He said he felt like a “fraud” when initial tests came back fine – but a lung scan then found a “decent-sized clot”.
“I thought ‘can I train tomorrow?’ Obviously it transpired I couldn’t. I had numerous specialist appointments trying to get to the bottom of why it happened and if I’d done any long-term damage, and luckily I hadn’t,” he said.
“There was a lot of uncertainty and a lot more worry on my behalf than anything else – it was a very uncomfortable two or three days, because it did go on for a bit.
“With this health issue it was a question of not only will you play rugby again but how is it going to affect you long-term, into your old age?
“If you’ve got significant lung damage or heart strain and you’re on blood thinners for life, that changes how you operate.”
Thankfully Wood is feeling “as if it never happened” and should be free to return after finishing his three-month course of medication.
He is unlikely to play before the end of the regular season but if Northampton finish in the Premiership’s top four he may be able to feature in their semi-final on 10-11 October.
“If the boys can come good over the next few months then maybe I’ll turn up on semi-final or final week,” he said.
“We’re a long way off that but that’s what I’m dreaming of at the minute and who knows, maybe I can put a bit of pressure on the specialist since things are going so well and I’m feeling so good, maybe there’s a bit of leeway in there.”