Andy Symons says it was 'an amazing feeling' to be back in action for Saints.
The centre came through unscathed in his first outing for more than a year, but it wasn't to be the result he wanted as the black, green and gold were beaten 36-32 by Wasps on Saturday.
Symons suffered a serious ACL injury in a defeat at Bath in September 2018, having only joined Saints a few months earlier.
It meant he missed the remainder of the season and was not able to get back to full fitness until this summer.
But Symons is up and running again now, having started at inside centre for Saints in the Premiership Rugby Cup clash with Wasps.
And he said: "On a personal note, it was an amazing feeling to run out at Franklin's Gardens.
"I've only run out here for Saints once before and I love playing here.
"It was amazing to get back here.
"I couldn't be more grateful for the help I've had in getting me back to the shape I'm in and back playing again.
"Credit to the club."
Saints scored five tries against Wasps but it was the away side who won an enthralling encounter thanks to a late penalty try.
Taqele Naiyaravoro's two yellow cards cost Saints dear.
And Symons, who came off to be replaced by Fraser Dingwall with 22 minutes to go, said: "It was tough. That last 20 minutes after I'd come off was pretty stressful to be honest.
"From a team perspective it was very frustrating.
"I thought we were outstanding in certain parts of the game but there were little parts where we switched off and it cost us dearly.
"It was frustrating, especially in our first competitive home game.
"We felt the same as the crowd because I could hear everyone's frustration when I was sitting on the bench and my frustration equalled that.
"It's difficult, especially when you feel like you should have 100 per cent won the game."