Towering Collingwood forward Mason Cox has revealed he was effectively legally blind in recent months as he recovered from three bouts of eye surgery.
Cox didn't play beyond round 20 this year after copping a poke to his left eye against Gold Coast and suffering a torn retina.
Further testing found he also had a detached retina in his right eye.
Cox continued to train lightly with teammates through the finals series. Picture: AFL Photos
Cox, 28, is through the worst of it and told Melbourne radio station SEN about the dull recovery process.
"It was tough going for about a month and a half. I was pretty much legally blind for a while," Cox said.
"We've gotten to the point now where I'm almost back to 20-20 (vision). I'm still on a lot of medication, but fortunate enough now to get back to my family, travel, get on a plane and be able to drive.
"To get a bit of independence is nice. For a long time I was sitting in a dark room staring at the ceiling and not much was going on in my life.
"About 45 minutes of every hour I had to spend on my back, so I couldn't really get out and about or do much.
"It is nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel and we're getting to the point now where I can start working out."
He may yet be available for full training on the first day of pre-season as the Pies aim to avenge their shock preliminary final loss to Greater Western Sydney.
"I had three surgeries. Two on one eye, one on the other and then I eventually kind of got the independence to go on one walk per day, then three walks per day," Cox said.
"Hopefully when day one of pre-season comes around we'll be able to do contact."
While his eyes were on the mend, Essendon reportedly had eyes on landing him as a potential replacement for Joe Daniher, whose trade request to Sydney was eventually denied.
Cox said he never spoke to the Bombers.
"I was never talking to anyone from that club. Whether or not the clubs were having conversations, that's something that probably happens on a daily basis with every single player on the list," Cox said.
"I was probably ignorant to it, but I was never personally contacted by Essendon and never sought out any trade.
"So yeah, it was quite interesting. It's the first time I've been in talks in the trade period. It's a bit of misreading from some people and misreporting which I guess is the nature of the beast.
"It is what it is. I'm happy I'm still staying at Collingwood and nothing changes for me.
"We keep moving on."