Blackpool's Matt Phillips wanted to make sure his toe injury was fully healed before returning to action.
The 21-year-old had surgery in November
and was out for more than two months before appearing as a substitute against Championship leaders Cardiff.
"I learned from my mistakes before, because I was playing with an injection and I think that just made it worse," he told
BBC Radio Lancashire.
Blackpool lost 2-1 to Cardiff
at Bloomfield Road on Saturday.
“I was out for two months so I'm hungry and I'm ready to get back in there. I wouldn't have put myself out there if it was still playing up”
have not won any of their last eight matches
in all competitions, a run that stretches back to 15 December.
But the return of Scotland international Phillips provided a rare bright spot during a period of upheaval, which saw boss Michael Appleton leave the club to take charge of Lancashire neighbours Blackburn Rovers.
Phillips earned rave reviews for his performances in the second half of last season and
was the subject of a £5m bid from Southampton
at the start of the 2012-13 campaign.
Despite his importance to the team, he did not want to rush himself back into first-team contention if it meant he would face another prolonged spell on the sidelines.
The former Wycombe man continued: "I'd been in for the previous 10 days with the development squad and getting a bit sharper. It was good to be back out there and I'm delighted to be back.
"I was out for two months so I'm hungry and I'm ready to get back in there. I wouldn't have put myself out there if it was still playing up."