Lincoln City captain Gary Mills accepts decision over new deal is out of his control
Lincoln City captain Gary Mills admitted that he would be lucky to be back before the end of the season as he recovers from a devastating knee injury.
The Imps skipper hobbled off during the club's 1-1 draw with Gateshead on December 29 with a torn posterior cruciate ligament and medial ligament damage. The 31-year-old revealed that he knew the injury was bad when it happened and is fully prepared that it will limit his chances of proving his worth for a new deal.
"I knew it was quite bad when it happened," said Mills. "As soon as I caught the ground something did not feel right and the pain was bad.
"It made it easier when they did say what had happened. It still wasn't nice, but I was expecting the worst in some ways.
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"I've had it checked out now and the surgeon believes that it will be three months before I'm fit enough to think about any kind of comeback.
"That obviously is not an ideal timescale and I know it will all have to go well for me to get the chance to get out there for Lincoln City again.
"With that in mind, I know I'm not going to have much chance to land myself a new deal."
Mills is now stuck at home on the sofa, with his left leg wrapped in a brace.
However, having spent 14 months on the sidelines while recovering from a broken leg and an ankle injury, he is well prepared for what lays ahead.
"I'm like Robocop," joked Mills when he contemplated the metal contraption that is keeping his knee in place.
"It is turning into a mental battle at the moment. I cannot go anywhere and I've just got to keep my leg raised and in the brace.
"I'm watching a lot of box sets and trawling through Twitter, so I'm doing my best to beat the boredom.
"But I've been here before when I broke my leg at Rushden & Diamonds. That was a long recovery. I spent 14 months out and it was frustrating.
"I would be sweating it out in the gym day after day and it was a big relief to get that over with.
"So, on reflection, a three month recovery is not as bad."
Mills is set to see a specialist on February 7 to check up on his recovery. To make sure he is on the right track he is doing all he can to make sure his sedentary lifestyle does not set him further back.
And he admitted that he cannot hide his frustration at not being able to play some role at the club at present.
"Chocolate is off the menu and it has been replaced by protein shakes," said Mills.
"I'm not able to do anything at all at the moment, so it is crucial I watch what I eat.
"The last thing I need is to spend time out getting my knee right only to have to spend another month getting my fitness back.
"But the club have been great. The physio is on the phone to me every day to check up and make sure I'm okay and they have been really supportive.
"The lads are fantastic as well. I don't live too close to them, but they are on the phone, texting or sending me messages on Twitter as well.
"It is good I'm able to keep in touch because I feel bad and frustrated that I'm not down there.
"I'm club captain and I know that my job is more than what happens on the pitch, it is about what happens in the dressing room now as well.
"My concern is that I'm not the only one injured and we've seen a slump in form because of that.
"We know what that is like as the same thing happened to us at the start of the season and it dented our confidence.
"It is frustrating as we were on a great spell and I was loving playing in the centre of midfield with Mo Fofana. I felt with every game we were getting more and more on the same wavelength and the set-up with Alan Power pushing forward to support Jamie Taylor was all coming together.
"Now, Mo, Alan and myself are all out, and that is a blow to the team.
"We have to keep strong, keep the confidence up and not let ourselves get dragged down."