AFTER a fantastic season for Wrexham, disaster struck for Carlos Edwards when he was seriously injured on international duty. Andy Gilpin found out how his recovery is going.
DEFINING moment of Wrexham's season so far? Was it the flying start to the season against fancied Swindon? Andy Dibble's hand injury in the closing minutes at Tranmere? The chairman running amok on the Kop while the Dragons edged to a narrow win over Bradford?
Or was it a wee bit before that. June 13, perhaps. Maybe even a few thousand miles away.
Like the butterfly which flaps its wings in the Caribbean and causes a typhoon across the Atlantic, was the pivotal moment in Wrexham's season a seemingly innocuous event in the Dominican Republic during a World Cup qualifier?
Winger Carlos Edwards ran through on goal attempting to score his first goal for Trinidad and Tobago. Instead he caught a divot in the pitch and damaged both the cruciate and medial ligaments in his left knee.
So before pre-season had even started Smith learned his prized asset was ruled out for most of the campaign. Also gone was the chance to sell him to help the cash-starved club.
With Wrexham's best attacking outlet out of the picture, Smith had to juggle his meagre budget and replace him.
On top of that one unhappy Trinidadian is facing the longest time on sidelines he's ever had to deal with.
Edwards was looking forward to another impressive season at the Race-course before he signed the most important contract of his professional career, either at Wrexham or pastures new.
Instead he became part of the furniture in Mel Pejic's treatment room.
Now, nearly three months into his rehabilitation, Edwards can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. But there's still a long lonely road left to travel to reach it. "Our aim is to get back to what he was," said physiotherapist Pejic. "In a week he'll go back to see the specialist and then the real work can begin. He shouldn't lose any pace or movement so there's no reason why he can't come back just as good as he was before."
That's what the 25-year-old is clinging on to at the moment. But he knows it doesn't always work like that. Paul Gascoigne was never the same player after suffering a similar injury during the 1991 FA Cup final, a fact that has crossed the mind of Edwards.
"I've just got to think that I'll come back quicker and stronger,"he said. "I'm thinking about the positives, but there's no quick fix.
"It's an injury that takes time. It ' s strange, even if you're feeling good and nothing seems to be wrong, you daren't do too much because it may damage you in the future.
"What Pej' is trying to do is step up the training because he likes what he's seeing. But it's not going to magically make me ready a month earlier.
"This is the longest I've been out and it's frustrating.
"I'm here to play football, not to wander around the training ground while everyone else is getting ready for games."
While Edwards was earning plaudits for his displays with the Dragons last term, he was also becoming a fixture in Bertille St Clair's Trinidad squad after a few years in the international wilderness.
In fact, after how he suffered his injury, it would be nice if Edwards caps his return with an international goal.
"Pitches in the Caribbean aren't like the ones over here," added Edwards. "I was running towards the keeper and looked odds on to score.
"I was attempting a shot, but with the surface uneven my body weight ended up all on one side and I went over.
"Something snapped and that can never be a good thing.
"I went to hospital in the Dominican Republic and they said it was badly bruised. But I knew it was worse than that and back in Trinidad I asked for an MRI scan."
As reports reaching these shores suggested Edwards may be out for four to six weeks, the true extent of his injury became clear.
And it was the worst-case scenario - "one of the worst injuries you can get," according to Pejic.
Damage to two of the ligaments in the knee meant complex surgery, and Edwards added: "They had to wait until the medial ligament settled down before they could do the operation.
"The surgeon, Dai Rees from Gobowen hospital, has helped people like Alan Shearer and Paul Gascoigne.
"Luckily I've always been a quick healer.
"I tell you what, the first defender I meet down the wing when I come back is going to be very sorry I'm back.
"He's going to regret being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"The latest I'm looking at is February and the earliest is January. Then people had better watch out because I'm making up for lost time."
Defining moment of Wrexham's season? Maybe it's when Carlos Edwards pulls on the red shirt once more.