Gold Coast speedster AJ Brimson says he'd resigned himself to missing the NRL season with his fractured back before making his return last round.
The 21-year-old fullback suffered the injury during the NRL Nines in February, with an initial stress fracture developing into a full-blown broken back.
But Brimson said he started to get some hope about eight weeks ago as he moved to the next level of rehabilitation.
"I had to prepare mentally not to play a game this year and move on to 2021 but the COVID-19 break was good for me," he said.
"I started doing straight-line running and everything was being tolerated fine and there were no symptoms of pain.
"I wasn't pushed as there was no return date no and pressure or stress to hit targets and it came along well."
Brimson's return came against the Sydney Roosters, and he managed the 80 minutes in a solid hit-out, with the Titans just falling short 18-12.
He said he was nervous about testing his back against the reigning champions but apart from feeling a bit bruised had pulled up well.
Brimson said that despite the loss the Titans had taken "massive confidence" out of pushing the Roosters, particularly given they twice played a man down, with two players sin-binned.
"I can definitely feel a change in the way we approach games," he said.
"When we're behind on the scoreboard, we've been allowing ourselves to get blown out of the game but on the weekend we were in it until the 80th minute which are positive signs."
Australian Associated Press