Giant All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick admits his mood - and injured shoulder - have improved this week, as he battles to regain fitness for the upcoming Rugby World Cup.
The second-row powerhouse suffered a dislocation against South Africa last month, and missed the remainder of the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup campaign.
But his name was among the 31 announced on Wednesday for the Japan tournament, where Retallick, 28, looms as a key player in the quest for a title three-peat.
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He concedes that has looked a remote prospect over recent weeks.
"I was getting pretty frustrated, but the doc was saying, 'It'll come, it'll come'," says Retallick. "I wasn't seeing much progress, so that was pretty frustrating.
"There's still no definite timeline on when it will be right, but we're kind of hoping for a day and if it comes right, it does - and if not, we'll address that."
Retallick insists the shoulder has only begun to recover some range of movement in recent days, giving him renewed hope he will return to the field sometime during the World Cup, if not for the Springboks opener.
"I'm feeling good and have seen some good progress on the shoulder over the last 3-4 days, so there's some light at the end of the tunnel," he says.
"I had pretty limited movement when it dislocated - it pinched a nerve, and I had numbness down my arm and fingers.
"But I'm starting to get some feeling back to normal. I've got my full range back, so I can start to rehab the shoulder."
Retallick knew he was in trouble the moment he took the hit at a breakdown.
"It was probably the sorest thing to happen to me on the rugby field," he says. "I'd never dislocated anything, but I knew it was out of place.
"I think I went into a bit of shock and scared Anton [Lienert-Brown] - I got up off the back of the ruck and ran straight into him, and said some words I shouldn't repeat.
"He looked at me with big, wide eyes."
Coach Steve Hansen has suggested Retallick should be back for the World Cup quarter-finals, which loom as a possible clash with Ireland or Scotland.
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