Winston Reid's three-month lay-off came to a timely end on Saturday afternoon, as his late cameo helped ensure that the back door remained firmly shut in victory over Swansea City.
Not since 2 November had the 25-year-old turned out for West Ham United, following which a high ankle sprain and subsequent surgery consigned the New Zealand skipper to a spell on the side-lines.
Twelve weeks on and this was no gentle reintroduction. With eleven minutes, plus the extras, to see out and only ten men to do so, Reid joined forces with fellow centre-halves James Collins and Tomkins, as the Hammers recorded a league-high eleventh clean sheet.
Saturday's 2-0 Barclays Premier League success comes just four days after a morale-boosting goalless draw at Chelsea, with Reid, thankfully, now ready to play his part too.
Reid was back in the thick of things at the Boleyn Ground on Saturday
He told West Ham TV: "It's nice being back out there and the most important thing was that we got the three points. It was a good victory on Saturday and the boys needed it.
"It has been 12 weeks now. It has not been the easiest 12 weeks but you get injuries as a footballer and the main thing is to get over it and deal with it. Fortunately enough I'm back fit and healthy.
"The ankle's coming along. I'm probably not 100 per cent yet, as I've only just started training a couple of days ago. I think it was good for me to just go out there and feel that I was OK. I'm just trying to work hard, get back and get back to full fitness as quickly as possible."
Last season's Hammer of the Year, Reid was a welcome sight back at the Boleyn Ground and thanked the Hammers faithful for his rapturous reception.
"It means a lot," he continued. "It means you're appreciated so it was nice to be back out there. To come back and play in front of the fans and to get the victory was good. With ten men it was a little bit difficult but we got through it at the end. We needed the three points!"
The Auckland-born defender was also quick to commend the efforts of his team-mates in securing a second successive shutout, a trend that Reid reckons can carry the Club to top-flight safety.
He added: "That's credit to the back four and to the midfielders. In the first half, the team, as a whole, worked really well. But I think the back four did [particularly] well and the two, or three in front of them worked their socks off. That's what we're going to need until the end of the season.
"I think [the two clean sheets] does give us a boost. That's four points in two games after a dull period, where we haven't picked up a lot of points. I think everyone's getting back to being fully fit. That's the main thing until the end of the season, apart from Joey dislocating his shoulder unfortunately, everyone else is raring to go."
At the other end, skipper Kevin Nolan doubled his tally for the campaign. Twice the beneficiary of Andy Carroll's good work, Nolan firstly buried an angled left-footed volley, before glancing a header into the far corner.
Reid believes Nolan's match-winning brace owes much to his commitment and expects the Hammers to work every bit as hard between now and the season's end.
"He [Kevin Nolan] has got a lot of stick this year but I think he showed on Saturday what he's all about, poaching chances in the area. Before Saturday the ball probably hasn't fallen for him, but he keeps working hard and keeps giving 100 per cent and when he does get a chance, he normally puts them away. He did it for us on Saturday.
"We're going to have to do well now until the end of the season. It's going to be a tough run in. We know that it's not going to be easy, there are a lot of teams down there. So I think just because we got a win on Saturday doesn't mean we can rest, we've got to go back and work hard."