But Stoddart, who was tipped for greatness after he scored on his international debut against South Africa in November 2007, returned to pre-season early at Parc y Scarlets and believes he can make up for lost time.
And with the countdown to the World Cup in New Zealand ticking ever closer, Stoddart is convinced he can still force his way into Warren Gatland's plans - but only by producing the goods for his region first.
"It's been an unbelievably hard time over the last year and a half and to get the groin injury after what I had been through with the knee was tough to take," said Stoddart.
"I actually recovered quite quickly from the knee reconstruction but to then need groin surgery was a kick in the teeth.
"There were some dark days for me but I've been determined to get back out on the rugby pitch throughout.
"It's not easy training on your own and undergoing all of the rehab but I'm at a great club and there's a World Cup coming up on the horizon.
"I would like to think I could push Lee (Byrne) and that would be good for both of us and Wales. There's not a lot of Welsh full-backs around but I can't be too greedy - my injuries have taught me not to look too far ahead."