Big 'Doc' broke his leg last September and only returned in time to manage three substitute appearances at the end of the season.
But now he's back, fully fit and rarring to go. "It's almost like starting again," he said. "I have to look at it like that.
"I've only really had eight or nine months of playing first team football and that's not enough to just expect to get myself back in.
"I've got to prove myself and hopefully I'll do that and get myself back in."
Of course, Gary wasn't alone in his injury woe last season. He was joined by Stephen Carr, Stephen Clemence, Steffen Freund, Goran Bunjevcevic and Steffen Iversen on the long-term list but all of those players - and Les Ferdinand - are now out of the treatment room.
Gary smiled: "That was great because I went in to get a strapping and got one straight away because no-one was in there!
"Hopefully, touch wood, that will last a long time because we were unfortunate with injuries last season. If we can keep that clear and keep everyone fit we'll have a good chance this season."
Meanwhile, Gary had a thanks to the fans for their standing ovation on his re-appearance against West Ham last season.
He added: "It gave me a massive motivation when the fans did that.
"It felt like they'd missed me so that gave me a huge lift at a good time, when I was just coming back. I'm thankful for that."
Gary Doherty admits it's like starting again this season after his injury nightmare last time around.