The former England U21s forward – whose last competitive appearance was in a Liverpool shirt in September 2021 – has taken giant strides in her personal road to recovery.
For any athlete, it is a worst-case scenario: that seemingly never-ending injury, impossible to shake off. An ailment which - on each occasion you seem to take one step forwards - sets you two steps back.
Its timing was cruel. Having moved to Merseyside, Dean got off to a flying start for Liverpool last season, scoring twice in her first three games - only to aggravate undiagnosed plantar fasciitis, an injury to the tendon under her foot.
This eventually caused a tear through over-use, ruling Dean out for the short-term and, sadly – despite everybody's best attempts to find a solution – the entire season, in which Liverpool went on to win the league title.
Dean said: “It’s one of those ones where I wasn’t sure how long it would be. When I first got the injury, I was just taking it day by day.
“It was the uncertainty which took its toll on me, really, because I never knew how long I was going to be out for. It ended up being almost 16 months.
“It was a rollercoaster. If I look back at the time, it’s quite blurry after being out for so long. Sometimes, I'd get my hopes up that I was recovering, and then things went down again.
“It’s been hard not really knowing the nature of the actual injury and what it was, but it’s been resolved now, thankfully. I’m just happy to be back!”