Back-rower Croft came through Friday’s win at Worcester Warriors, playing 50 minutes in his first match since suffering a neck injury against Harlequins back in April.
It was an injury which required surgery and a long rehabilitation programme, costing him a possible Aviva Premiership Final appearance and selection for England’s summer tour to South Africa.
“I was just happy to be able to walk off the pitch this time!” Croft said after Friday’s win at Sixways.
“I felt a bit rusty, as Cockers reminded me, I did miss Jon Clarke for their try. But it would have hurt a lot more if we’d lost the game.
“It’s a start. I got 50 minutes and I’m happy with that.
“Just being out there, that was probably the biggest test – with that last one or two per cent doubt or nervousness in the back of your mind – so it is nice to get that game back.
“It was just coming through unscathed. You go to some dark places with injuries. But with the work of the physios and the medical staff at the club, and the specialist, you trust their judgement and today was about getting through it.
“To get over that threshold and actually play is great. Now I can start a normal life again with training on Monday.”