The road back from that scary line drive off his skull turned out to be a lot longer than J.A. Happ anticipated but now that he’s preparing for a start Wednesday afternoon against the Mariners he’s ready to put all that frustration behind him.

When Happ was last on a major-league mound at Tampa on May 8 he was struck down by a vicious line drive off the bat of Desmond Jennings of the Rays fracturing his skull. As he went down Happ also strained two ligaments in his right knee. It turned out that the knee damage was slower to heal than Happ’s head.

Three months later Happ still needs to wear a knee brace

“I don’t know what (the club’s) timeframe was” Happ said on Tuesday. “But in my mind at first it was two weeks then three weeks then four-to-six and then six-to-eight so it just kept jumping. The most frustrating thing was that I wasn’t able to turn a corner when I was hoping I would.”

The skull fracture healed quickly with no residual effects.

“It’s something I could have pitched through if the knee wasn’t an issue” he said.

Just a couple of weeks after Happ’s scary moment Tampa pitcher Alex Cobb was hit by an eerily similar line drive.

“We exchanged some text messages” said Happ of Cobb. “I’m happy to hear that he’s doing better and on his way back. He had more concussion symptoms than I did so that’s scary but I’m glad to know he’s doing better now.”