Barnstorming Parramatta winger Blake Ferguson says his dramatic weight loss and re-gain due to a post-surgical knee infection won't dent his impact when he returns to the NRL field this weekend.
Ferguson comes back following a six-week lay off for Friday's crunch match-up against Brisbane after losing an estimated 12kg and putting it back on during his recovery.
The NSW State of Origin representative has been missing in action since mid-July when a routine knee clean out turned into a major health scare which left the 29-year-old fearing his season was over.
During his recovery, he shed the kilos before being put on a calorie-heavy diet of fast food.
But Ferguson, considered one the most damaging outside backs in the game, denies the ordeal has affected his strength, speed or fitness.
"The Eels wouldn't have allowed me to return if I wasn't up to where I was before I got injured," Ferguson said.
"It's a credit to the guys here, they work tirelessly on what I need to do to be at my best."
After taking on the Wests Tigers in round 17, his knee blew up and he had 38mls of fluid extracted before being booked in for surgery.
It was following that that his health took a turn for the worse.
"The doctor said 'go and get a blood test at your nearest pathologist'," Ferguson said.
"On the Friday when he got the results he said 'we'll go in and clean it out, wash out your knee'.
"He must have found an infection. I was on antibiotics and instead of attacking the infection in my joint, it attacked my kidneys."
Ferguson has been credited with giving the Eels the go-forward they have missed since Semi Radradra's exit from the club at the end of 2017.
After last year becoming just the third player in league history to make 5000m in a season, he has run for an average of 156m in 2019 and helped transform last year's wooden spooners into a potential top four side.
His teammates said he had been pestering coach Brad Arthur to allow him to return sooner and he was admittedly "filthy" about not being allowed to take on Canterbury last week.
A relieved Ferguson returned to full training on Sunday after at one point fearing for his season and future.
"I got some good results go my way, thank god they went my way," Ferguson said.
"It's always scary. It's my job to play footy and I didn't get to play footy for a while.
"You roll with the punches."