James Pattinson has revealed the surgeon who rescued his career, initially told the Australian quick to accept his career was probably over.
The Victorian firebrand made a emotional Test comeback after a three-year absence in the 251-run over England at Edgbaston last week as the tourists took a 1-0 Ashes series lead.
The 29-year-old, who debuted in 2011, has endured a stop-start career with stress fractures in his back restricting him to just 18 appearances which have yielded 72 wickets at a healthy average of 29.15.
After breaking down again in a Test against New Zealand three years ago, Pattinson visited world-renowned back specialist Grahame Inglis, the man who salvaged the careers of Kiwi quicks Shane Bond and Matt Henry, but was told he was too late.
"The guy in New Zealand initially said: 'look, I don't think that I can do much. Your back looks like it is too far gone'," Pattinson told The Final World Podcast.
"That was fairly tough news to take as I thought I was going to have maybe an one-day career or play a few T20s, to (thinking) I might not ever get back to first-class cricket.
"There was a fair bit of contemplation over that month and then he said: 'well, if you are willing to take the risk, even if I can make a 15 per cent difference in it, then it might be just what you need to put you on the park'."
Pattinson spoke in depth with Bond about the procedure which included screws and wires being used to bind his L4 vertebrae, which was also supplemented by bone grafted from his hip.
Bond's advice gave him confidence he could fully recover but he had to privately come to terms with the fact that he may never bowl again.
"Having people who have had that experience to talk to is great and really helped me through that phase," he said.
"I remember initially they booked me on a flight three days after my surgery and I couldn't roll out of bed.
"I was getting the nurse to shower me and that sort of thing. I spent two weeks over in New Zealand and I was a week in hospital then another in a hotel room.
"At that stage I was married and the support my wife was really good. I've always kept things pretty realistic and kept my mates close from back home.
"For me cricket has not always been everything. I had in my head that if things didn't go right with cricket, I would move into something else."
Pattinson's road back to the Australia team has been treated with caution by the team's medical staff, and he was rested for the second Test at Lord's in an effort to keep him fresh for the third Test next week in Leeds.
The 29-year-old admits in the past he'd have tried to play through any pain and that learning to manage his body has been something he's had to come to terms with.
"I've always tried to push through it in games and it has ended up worse," he said.
"One of the great things having so many bowlers around now, if you are a bit sore ... we are in a position we can go the other way rather than pushing through it.
"There are plenty of Test matches and look at it long-term and for me, that's a big learning curve."