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But rehabbing with other injured players helped: “You can pick each other up when you’re having a down day, you rely on those close to you, you rely on your friends, your family, you rely on anyone, really, to give you a boost and to remind you all that it’s going to be worth it once you’re back out there playing.”

Ben Arfa broke the tibia and fibula of his left leg last October. The France international told Le Parisien daily that he counted down the hours Tuesday before his comeback match for Newcastle that night and afterward felt “filled with happiness. I’m alive again.”

Holden echoed those thoughts.

“I’ve become an expert in rehab at this point, but I hope that this is the last time I have to do that,” he said. “Once you get back on the field, you make that first tackle, you make that first pass, and it goes along way to pushing yourself back to 100 percent.”

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John Leicester is an international sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jleicester(at)ap.org or follow him at twitter.com/johnleicester