Published Tuesday, 04 February 2014
Ulster's Stephen Ferris has faced a long injury lay-off. (© Pacemaker)
The flanker has been out of action for over 15 months having gone through three operations for knee and ankle problems.
Despite talk of a potential move to Japan, the 28-year-old has said he hopes to return to the Ulster squad for this year's European Cup campaign.
The Maghaberry man was talking to UTV on a return visit to Friends' School in Lisburn where he honed his rugby skills, during his time growing up in the school.
He said: "I won't be a specific date on my return. I haven't all the way through so that is the way it is at the minute.
"I want to get back as quick as possible, but I am not going to rush it.
"I've been out 15 months now and there is no point cutting out a few weeks or a month only to hit another stumbling block."
He continued: "I need to clock up the miles on the pitch.
"This is week two on the pitch for me and everything is going well, my ankle has been responding well and fingers crossed in two or three weeks I'll know when I can make a return.
"But it will be my ankle that will dictate when and how much rugby I can play."
I've just kept plugging away and I believe I still have a lot to offer the game and there is still plenty of rugby in me.
During the rehabilitation period, Ferris said he had suffered some low points.
He added: "It has gone very quickly, before I knew it I'd had three operations and been out a year.
"So to me it doesn't seem to be 15 months, it seems shorter and that has helped me through.
"It has been disheartening to see players get injured, go through the gym and get back out playing, but I have tried not to let that get to me."
On speculation of a potential move to the sport in Japan, Ferris said there was an element of truth to the rumours.
He added: "I would just like to thank the fans for all their support.
"Without them and their support, along with my family and friends, I don't think I would have been here."
On Ulster's potential in the European Cup and the league, Ferris said the Ravenhill men were well poised for success.
"We are in a good place," he went on.
"Statistically the best team in Europe and with three games coming up at home and a Ravenhill quarter final it's been a long time since it looked so good and hopefully we get the victory we deserve."
On his chances of lining up for Ireland again, the Maghaberry man said he was concentrating primarily on his Ulster return.
On the Irish Six Nations hopes, he said: "They did a lot of things perfectly on Sunday against Scotland.
"But against the Welsh it will be a much tighter game and if Ireland can play their game, it could be a good win for them and they do have a great chance in the Six Nations."
© UTV News