DARREN TURNER has known for some time his days at the Giants might be numbered.
Yet that has done little to soften the blow of his imminent departure from his hometown club.
On Thursday he will go into hospital to undergo a knee reconstruction and will then begin the long process of attempting to regain full fitness and resume his playing career.
That will be away from the McAlpine, although it's something of which he was always well aware.
Turner began the season knowing he needed to have a big year to impress coach Jon Sharp and earn a Giants contract for Super League X.
Everything was going according to plan - until April 25.
It was the day of the Challenge Cup semi-final against St Helens and promised to be one of the biggest matches in Turner's life.
Instead, it proved to be a nightmare.
As well as losing 46-6, the 29-year-old hooker was forced to leave the field following a new knock to his troublesome right knee.
It was the beginning of the end of Turner's playing career at Huddersfield Giants.
In the weeks that followed, the former Underbank junior who captained Huddersfield schoolboys in the Challenge Cup Wembley curtain-raiser in 1985, desperately tried to get back out on the competitive field.
But every time a return looked on the cards, the knee would go again and Turner was back to square one.
He knew the end was nigh.
"In the end I was left with no choice," he reflected.
"Martin Higgins (the club physio) worked well beyond the call of duty trying to get me right, and I can't thank him enough for what he did.
"But even Martin couldn't beat this one.
"Things came to the crunch in the week leading up to the game at Salford last month.
"On the Monday, I felt the knee was good and I was training as strongly as anyone. I could twist, turn, side-step and run flat-out.
"But then on the Tuesday, the knee went again.
"I think we all feared the worse and Martin booked me in to see the specialist.
"I went for a scan and that's when those fears were all confirmed.
"I also knew that it meant my days at the Giants as a player were numbered.
"It was obviously a massive blow, but there was nothing I could do. It was a case of getting in for the surgery as quickly as possible and immediately setting my sights on resuming my playing career at another club.
"I still feel I've got a couple of years in me as a player.
"There's no reason at all why the knee surgery won't be a complete success and I can return as strong as ever.
"I certainly don't see this signalling the end of my playing career by any stretch of the imagination."
In an ideal world, Turner would have finished his career at his hometown club.
But he does take comfort from the fact that he is leaving the club at a time of strength.
"From the day I first stepped on to the field as a young kid at Underbank I always dreamed of playing for Huddersfield," added Turner, who also lived the dream of winning a Challenge Cup final at Wembley with Sheffield Eagles in 1998.
"I've now fulfilled that dream and will be leaving Huddersfield with far more good memories than bad.
"Even when I first came to the club four years ago as part of the merger with Sheffield and we were being beaten regularly I still managed to enjoy most of it.
"Obviously, we were relegated the following season, but since then it's almost been non-stop success.
"I really enjoyed our season out of Super League and in the NFP, even though the pressure on us to win the Grand Final at the end of it was immense. We all had our livelihoods at stake.
"But we came through that match OK, and couldn't have been happier.
"They were a great bunch of lads and winning that match was the icing on the cake.
"And it's continued getting better since then.
"The improvement we made back in Super League under Tony Smith was fantastic, and that improvement is now continuing under Jon Sharp.
"I'm disappointed I won't be around to see that improvement continue, which I know it will when Sharpy has had another season with us under his belt.
"But I know when I look back, I will think myself very lucky to have been a part of this great club.
"The fans have been superb to me from day one, and I can't thank them enough for their support over the years.
"And I also can't thank my testimonial committee enough for all their help during last season's benefit.
"With so many great people around, there's no doubt the Giants will get even bigger."