For a player who has suffered as much injury heartache as John Kennedy, every minute of every game must now come as something of a bonus.
Certainly, he was all smiles after yesterday's Carrow Road debut as the 24-year-old, on-loan Bhoys centre-half continued to rebuild the career left shattered by one, ugly stamp four long years ago.
Sidelined for the better part of three years after his Scottish international debut ended on a stretcher, last season merely brought further knee trouble.
This season, however, and – fingers firmly crossed – Kennedy can propel himself back nearer the limelight with a successful loan switch to Norfolk.
“It was good,” said the Canary defender, quizzed as to his thoughts on his City debut in this weekend's 2-2 draw with the U's.
Like Arturo Lupoli, Kennedy could have got another game under his belt in the shape of last Monday night's 5-1 defeat by a rampant Spurs side – only for his paperwork to get stuck with the Scottish FA.
Equally, the fact that Norwich only 'officially' signed the fit-again defender on August 1 – thus enabling his loan spell to end on the first day of the 2009 transfer window opening again on January 1 – worked against his early involvement in Glenn Roeder's summer rehearsals.
“Disappointed not to get my clearance through in time [to play on] Monday night there, but it was good to eventually get playing again,” said Kennedy setting his sights little higher than simply getting a decent run fgames under his belt.
It is, of course, something that the footballing fates have denied him for the last four years.
“I think this is a good opportunity for me to get to Norwich and get playing again,” said Roeder's eighth signing of the summer. “The manager and the staff have all been great and I'm just looking forward to coming here and being part of it.”
Kennedy was not short of familiar faces when he first arrived at Colney as Motherwell's hopes of securing one of Celtic Park's finest ended in tears with Roeder's intervention.
Both Canary keeper David Marshall and skipper Mark Fotheringham were part of the same Celtic youth set-up that had unearthed such a prospect in Kennedy; both were more than eager to ensure that the three would be reunited at Carrow Road.
“I spoke to them quite a few times – and they phoned me quite a few times – and it's good to have something like that; that you now you can come here and know a few faces.
“But the manager and the staff have been fantastic as well – they've helped me settle in very quickly and I'm looking forward to the season ahead.”
With Gary Doherty out of the running for at least the next three months, Kennedy now has every chance to make that right-sided centre-half spot his own. Roeder has hinted that he will look to make another signing in that position before this summer's window closes, but for now it is Kennedy's shirt to lose.
As it is for Dejan Stefanovic alongside him. Given the glowing terms in which the manager spoke about both players after yesterday's game, that will be City's first-choice defensive line-up going into battle at the Ricoh next Saturday afternoon.
“Dejan's a very experienced lad; he's done it all in the Premiership and been around, so he's got all the experience in the world and I think that will be good for the team because we've got quite a young squad.
“And having a player like him is a player that you can look up to; it's good to have players like that and I'm sure that Dejan will be a good signing.”
With this week's transfer activity likely to centre on prising a big target man out of someone, somewhere, Norwich's whirlwind summer on the transfer merry-go-round is far from over; senior City figures were expecting a testing week as they looked to secure what remains arguably the biggest, single piece remaining in the manager's 2008-2009 jigsaw.
Even without big, strapping Johnny X, the Canaries will go into battle very much as a 'work in progress'; most players should at least be on first name terms but little more as they board the bus for Coventry City next Friday afternoon.
Fitness-wise, one or two are still short – Kennedy among them.
“That's the first full game that I've had for a long time, but it was just good to get involved again. I've not really played any games in the whole of pre-season because I've not been registered. But thankfully the clearance came through today and I managed to get something under my belt before the season starts, so come next week at least I'll have had something and I'll be ready.”
It has been a very long and a very rocky road back for a player widely believed to be on for big, big things when injury struck on his Scottish international debut. Little wonder that he grasps every moment with an appreciation that few can imagine.
“When you come back you make the most of it, but it's no different from anyone else,” he claimed. “If you miss two weeks or two years, you miss it just as badly.
“So I'm going to savour every moment that I have here – and I'm looking forward to it.”
And looking no further forward than have 20-odd full games under his belt.
“That's where I want to be by January – just getting steady games under my belt,” he said.
“I got half of last year and then I picked up a knee injury – and it kept me out for the rest of the season. So just to get games in regularly – and, hopefully, Norwich are going to give me the opportunity to do that.
“As I say, I'm looking forward to it, but I just have to take each game as it comes.”
His only bemish came with the 44th minute slip that allowed Colchester to bag an opener. “It came off Dejan and kind of got caught under my feet, but it's as well to get these out of the way in pre-season than when it really matters.
“Disappointing, but these are the things that happen when you are a bit rusty and are coming back to match fitness.”