It was one year ago this week that the 19-year-old midfielder suffered the injury in an Under-18s game at Norwich City.
After many months of recuperation and hard graft from the spirited youngster, he finally got back out on the pitch this afternoon as our Under-21s took on a strong Bees XI at the Training Centre.
And he was understandably elated to make his long-awaited return to action.
“It’s a feeling like nothing else!” beamed Joe, who played at left-back against Lee Carsley’s men.
“It was a tough time when the injury happened, for me and my family. It hit us all really hard, it was unexpected, very quick and that surprised me, but straight away I just thought positively and grafted as hard as I could in the gym and out on the pitches.
“Massive thanks must go to the physios at the club – they’ve helped amazingly and I’ve recovered stronger and faster. There’s nothing like going out on that pitch and playing football – it’s been a long time coming. Everything feels better so I’ve just got to kick on now and see what comes next.”
Even during the off-season when most players were away on their holidays, Joe, who is now part of our Under-21s set-up, could be seen around the Training Centre working towards his recovery.
Now that he’s reached the end of his journey, the Watford-born battler is eager to get started on another with a host of important matches on the horizon in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League and the Premier League International Cup.
“For me, it’s all a mental thing to be honest,” he explained. “When you get injured you’ve got to think positively, get all of your positive vibes from different people and really try to think of that light at the end of the tunnel. It’s hard to see it a lot of the time but you just push and push and eventually it comes.
“Now I’m back out on the pitch I’ve got to keep going. We’ve got some massive games coming up so hopefully I can get back in the squad, get my fitness up and I’ll be able to play in a few more games to really get going.”
Monday’s match ended 4-1 in the Championship side’s favour, with Harry Winks on target for us with a header after Anton Walkes nodded the ball across goal.
Above: Anthony Georgiou tussles for the ball against Brentford.