Jacob Stockdale says it has been tough watching on this season with Ulster and Ireland playing well. The winger has been out injured since the early part of the season due to an ankle injury.
"It's really good now," Stockdale told the Rugby Pod.
"It was pretty frustrating for me. A really weird training ground injury. Tried to rehab it over the first four months and that wasn't working. I went in, got the surgery done. Now I'm feeling pretty good because I feel like I've got a plan, and can see light at the end of the tunnel.
"We're talking six months from surgery [before I can play again]. Realistically, you're talking next season. I've accepted it now, and am looking at the positives which means I get a full pre-season under my belt, which is something I've never had before. It means I can come back next season firing and ready to go. I'm happy with that."
The only action Stockdale saw this season was in Ulster's opening game of the URC against Glasgow. He last played for Ireland in July's victory over Japan.
"It's definitely hard to watch," said the 25-year-old.
"Ulster games, I've found them tougher because they've been going so well in Europe. That big win away to Clermont was class.
"Last week, when Ulster were playing Dragons away in gale force winds and the pissing rain, it was just first time I've watched a game and was like, 'I'm really glad to be injured right now'.
"It is tough. To a certain extent, you're scared of being forgotten about."