Arsene Wenger admits that at one stage during Tomas Rosicky's rehabilitation he feared the Arsenal midfielder's career was over.
Hamstring and knee injuries sidelined Rosicky for 18 months with his appearance in Saturday's pre-season friendly against Barnet his first since January 2008.
"There was a time when I was worried Tomas wouldn't play football again and he felt the same," said Wenger.
"But he had always led a healthy and dedicated life. Mentally he's also very strong. Of course you have to ask and hope if he will ever get back to where we want him to be and the answer looks like yes.
"We have to manage him well and prepare him well. If we comes through pre-season well he could start the season."
Rosicky's return has helped give Wenger the confidence not to seek a replacement for Emmanuel Adebayor, who joined Manchester City on Saturday night.
Adebayor is the latest high-profile player to exit the Emirates Stadium, following on the heels of Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, Alexander Hleb and Mathieu Flamini.
Wenger, however, believes the club will recover once again and already possesses a squad strong enough to compete next season.
"We must trust the players we have. It's a very important season for us and I believe we are in a very strong position," he said.
"Big clubs lose big players. AC Milan have lost Kaka but will go on. Arsenal have lost big players before but we go on. We have also had positive messages - players like Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas are staying here. I believe we have a strong enough squad to meet the targets we have."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.