Bagshot - Modern sports science may be a complicated business but England prop Joe Marler said something as simple as drinking gallons of milk had been behind his extraordinary recovery from a fractured leg.
Marler was informed he would be out of action for five weeks after withdrawing from the warm-up of Harlequins' win over Sale on January 7 after getting through their New Year's Day defeat by Worcester with what he thought was a mere calf problem.
It looked as if Marler, 26, would miss the first two rounds of the Six Nations but instead he was named Thursday as England's starting loosehead prop for the Grand Slam champions' opener against France at Twickenham on Saturday.
"I drank lots of milk. And that's it, my body has taken care of the rest," Marler told reporters at England's Bagshot training base on Thursday.
"It's actually a historical thing because there's lots of calcium in milk, so that helps with the bones. And teeth. That's not a new thing, it's been around for thousands of years.
"Your mum always says milk is really good for you and you don't really believe it until you really need it because you've got a broken leg.
"I drank two pints a day and it's something I'll keep doing because it's really tasty."
Marler, a veteran of 46 Tests added: "I'm not putting it all on that, I'm putting it on (England physiotherapist) Phil Pask as well, but it's helped."
Marler, who opted out of England's tour of Australia last year as he did not feel mentally ready to face the Wallabies following back-to-back suspensions, found himself back in the starting XV following Mako Vunipola's knee injury.
But his participation looked a long shot when he was ruled out of club duty against Sale.
"The trouble was I did it in the first half against Worcester and just thought it was a calf knock and I did pull my calf as well, so there was a bit of confusion there," he said.
"I got to the end of the game and said 'strap it up it's just a tight calf or whatever', and then because of the frozen pitches and the weather, we didn't really get a chance to run it again until the following week's warm-up.
"It was then that I said to them 'I'll be alright, I'll just run it off', but I couldn't run it off because my leg was broken."