England prop Phil Vickery has admitted that another serious injury would leave him considering his future in the game.
The 28-year-old Gloucester forward has undergone major back surgery on two occasions in recent seasons, and is currently recuperating from his second operation four months ago.
World Cup winner Vickery, who missed England's summer tour of New Zealand and Australia, probably will not play again until October at the earliest, although he remains upbeat about his recovery prospects.
But the 43 times-capped tighthead also knows that any further major injury woe could have grave consequences.
"I am not going to be in the same position again of pushing myself back too early, because if it happened again, that would be it," said Vickery, of his latest fitness battle.
"What you have to understand is that when you are lying on your back unable to move, you are in pain and you cannot sneeze, cough or laugh, then it makes you realise at some stage in your life that rugby is not number one any more.
"Rugby is still number one for me, but if it was to happen again, I would have to seriously consider my future because there is also a life to live.
"If I don't get it right this time, I would have to think about it," he added.
"But the last time, I still don't think I gave myself enough recovery time. I was back playing within 12 weeks which, if you think about it, is ridiculous.
"There are a lot of people who would like to see me fail and there are a lot of people who would like to see me succeed, but I am coming along well and making progress.
"If things keep improving like they are, it won't be long until I am back. My target is not what game I will play, but getting my test results at the level they need to be."
England flanker James Haskell insists he will be pushing as hard as possible to be back from a toe injury in time to make his case for a spot in Eddie Jones' side looking to defend their RBS 6 Nations title next year.