Kevin Pietersen has revealed the full extent of the injury that left him sidelined for three months, as the England batsman prepares to make his return to international cricket.
The 32-year-old had been out of action since March after his tour of New Zealand was curtailed after he developed severe bone bruising to his knee.
Pietersen's injury led him to miss the return Test and one-day series with New Zealand, while he has also been unable to compete in the ICC Champions Trophy, with England set to play the final of the competition on Sunday.
There had been fears Pietersen would not be fit in time to face Australia in the Ashes, which begins on July 10, but the former England captain made his return to competitive cricket with Surrey on Friday.
Pietersen is also part of the England squad to face the Kiwis in two T20 internationals at the Oval next week, although admits he feared at times that his recovery would have been even more long-term.
"It was really bad," Pietersen told talkSPORT about the moment he first encountered the problem.
"In New Zealand I couldn't duck a bounce, I couldn't sweep, I was in all sorts of trouble. I was on the strongest painkillers and eventually my stomach just gave up with me in the second Test match.
"I probably did it a lot of damage by playing, but I just tried to get through and played for as long as I could because I hate missing Test matches.
"A bruising on your bone is a lot worse than breaking it. You know with a break it'll be back.
"I've broken my arm, I've broken collar bones, I've broken my leg. I've broken plenty of bones and you know that within six, seven, eight weeks you're firing again. The bruising has been really frustrating but over the last three weeks I turned a real positive corner."