Scott Wharton has opened up on the road ahead for him as he bids to come back from a serious knee injury.

The Blackburn Rovers defender is set for a long stint on the sidelines after damaging his left knee against Sheffield Wednesday. Wharton is set for a minimum of nine months out and will miss most of next season.

It is a cruel blow for the 26-year-old, who had found a rich vein of form following John Eustace's arrival. He had played an integral part in Rovers' survival push but now faces a huge challenge of his own.

Reliving the events and reflecting on the first 10 days post-operation, Wharton explained how he took the news and how his hopes that he'd avoided a really serious knee problem were dashed.

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“It’s been over a week, nine days, since the operation now and I’m really happy that it’s out of the way and that everything went well from the surgeon's point of view," Wharton told RoversTV.

“The surgeon was really pleased with it and it’s a massive hurdle for me with the injury, but the lads getting over the line has been a big relief for me.

"Staying up and going down would've been very bad news. Them staying up has given me some positive news, it was a huge relief, I am proud of them for getting me through.

“We were losing 3-1 at the time and I was weighing up whether to slide. That could've been a penalty, a red card, as I was the last man.

"So I remember trying to block the shot with my leg, but I’ve over-stretched a bit, straightened my knee out and heard a pop and crunching sound, so I knew I’d done something.

“At the time, I thought I might have got away with it a little bit and that it wouldn’t be too bad. I went for the scan the next day and the results weren’t great.

“I’ve not seen the video back of the incident and I didn’t know that I’d actually hyper-extended my knee the other way.

“I was gutted and there was a shock regarding realising what I’d done and how long-term the injury is going to be.

"When I said I thought I'd got away with it, I was just hoping anything but ACL. At the time, I hoped it was MCL, which is on the outside and the scan shows I've done both a number of other things.

"I was a bit speechless, I was with my Mrs and my agent, I didn't know what to say. It was a big shock, especially with the position we were in as a club and a team.

"Not being able to help, it was gutting. That day after I was holding it in, I went to see my parents, came home and it really hit home."

Wharton has been on this long road before. He tore his Achilles at Brentford in 2020. It was around 12 months before he was back on the pitch, with the COVID-19 pandemic making his rehabilitation far more isolating.

The defender hopes that experience will make this journey easier, with more visible improvements day-to-day. Whilst it will still be an arduous journey back to full fitness, it's a challenge he is ready to embrace.

“I think it’s going to be easier for me in a weird kind of way," he explained.

"I did my Achilles on this leg as well during the COVID time and it was really tough and lonely coming into the building to recover from that. 

"It was hard work, I was in a boot for a long time and there were lots of restrictions. It was a different type of injury, I was in the boot and had to retrain how to walk again, lost a lot of muscle in my leg.

“This time around, although I’m on crutches for six weeks, I’m able to get around better and can do a few things myself rather than having to rely on others. I can already see little improvements.

“The way you’ve got to look at this injury, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and I’ve already seen big improvements in terms of being able to bend my knee and straighten it out as much as I can.

“The first target is to try and reduce the swelling and get as much bend as I can, it’s about reaching those little goals and it’s been alright so far.

“These things happen. I’ve been here before and I know what it takes to get over these things. I have good people around me who will support and help me, so I know I can work hard and come back stronger.

“That’s my mindset. I want to smash it because I want to come back stronger. If I cut corners or I’m sloppy with my rehab, you’ll get found out and it’s not an injury you can do that with anyway.”