Warren Gatland has revealed he could have lost a leg as a result of his window cleaning accident in New Zealand.
The Lions head coach shattered his right heel and fractured the left after falling off a ladder at his Waihi Beach home in April.
Gatland is continuing to recover from the mishap and the subsequent operations and skin grafts as a result of an infection.
“I knew I’d done some damage,” said Gatland.
“The eight months prior to the accident had seen a great World Cup and a Grand Slam, then you are cleaning windows at the beach and fall off.
"You think, if things had gone bad, I could have lost my leg. Fortunately, things have been good. It’s coming on. I’m off the crutches now, so it’s getting better. I’m learning to walk again.
“In another three or four weeks I hope to be back in a normal shoe and running around – not cleaning windows. Hopefully I’ll be all right.”
“Having access to a world-class surgeons and a plastic surgeon has hopefully helped. I’m off the crutches now, so it’s getting better and I’m learning to walk again!
“It’s all been a reminder how quickly things can change. “
Following two week’s oversseing the home nations’ autumn progress ahead of next year’s tour to Australia, Gatland has temporarily returned to Wales duty.
Gatland will take the Dragons’ reins for their upcoming clashes with New Zealand and Australia.
Wales have crashed to five consecutive defeats in Gatland’s absence, and while the Kiwi hopes to turnaround the nation’s fortunes he insists his presence would not have altered previous results.
“My presence wouldn’t have made a difference,” added Gatland.
“This run is not serious at all, we don’t have a huge amount of depth and that puts you under pressure.
“It’s not the first time Wales have lost to Argentina or Samoa, the hardest thing is we haven’t handled the expectation we have created.
“I don’t have any regrets, we all knew the situation and my role is also to develop coaches within the set-up. I’m not here forever. When I do leave hopefully I leave them in a better state.”
Gatland has made five changes to the side that crashed to a shock defeat at the hands of Samoa. Sam Warburton returns to the starting line-up and is joined by Grand Slam centre Jonathan Davies, who has overcome a groin injury.
But 92-cap two-tour Lions prop Gethin Jenkins has been left on the bench.
Wales have not beat the All Blacks in 59 years but Gatland expects a fierce response following a dismal two weeks.
“We’ve had a couple of tough weeks but we are not as poor as we’ve played. It’s been disappointing, but that’s the sign of a side that can improve and grow. Hopefully, we’ll go out on Saturday and produce a performance that people will be proud of.”
Wales; L Halfpenny; A Cuthbert, J Davies, J Roberts, G North; R Priestland, M Phillips; P James, M Rees, A Jarvis, B Davies, L Charteris, R Jones, S Warburton (capt), T Faletau
Reps; K Owens, G jenkins, S Andrews, A Shingler, J Tipuric, T Knoyle, J Hook, Scott Williams