Duncan Watmore’s long road back to fitness is a frustrating one for the livewire forward - but he says his rehab is going well.
Watmore’s season was brought to a premature end when he suffered cruciate knee ligament damage in the 2-1 win over Leicester City at the start of December.
The devastating injury ruled Watmore out for the rest of the season, joining Paddy McNair on the long-term injury list.
Watmore’s form had seen an upturn in the weeks leading up to the Foxes win, with manager David Moyes describing him as “terrific” alongside Victor Anichebe and Jermain Defoe.
But scan results confirmed the club’s worst fears, with Watmore now working hard every day at the Academy of Light to come back stronger.
"It is frustrating when you are out for this amount of time, but in terms of the rehab it is going well," reflected Watmore.
"It is about getting the full extension, full range doing all the squats and building it up so the knee can tolerate it.
"The treatment we get here at Sunderland is fantastic, I am working hard and I am in good hands.
"Day-to-day you do a lot of treatment with the knee then a lot in the gym in terms of building your core, obviously your legs and building them up so your knees can tolerate the squats.
"A lot of swimming and bike work, build that up until you are in a position where you can do some running," added Watmore, who travelled to New York with the rest of the squad this week.
The England Under-21 international was carried off following a challenge by Foxes’ defender Christian Fuchs.
Watmore is keeping his spirits up as he battles back to fitness and insists basement side Sunderland are in a strong position to stay up because the team spirit is so strong.
"The spirit is really good here, we all get on with each other," added Watmore.
"When you are injured you do miss out on things; you are in at different times, doing different things so it is good to see the lads at lunch and keep up with things, there is a strong team spirit.
"Experience is key, we have a lot of players here who have done it before. We are obviously not in the position we want to be but if we keep fighting there is no reason why we can’t stay up."