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Addison's back continues to be a frustration, hip op had been planned for Henderson

Ulster had hoped the Ireland second row would be able to complete his recovery during sport’s shutdown, but the surgery was delayed.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

ULSTER WILL TREAD cautiously with Will Addison’s injury, knowing the back is a notoriously tricky area of the body to put right after a niggle.

The Ulster and Ireland fullback and centre is reportedly making good progress in his injury rehab, but the northern province look set to do without the versatile international for next week’s Pro14 restarter against Connacht in the Aviva Stadium.

“It’s really frustrating, for no one more than Will. I feel for him,” head coach Dan McFarland said in a virtual press conference yesterday.

“It has been niggling at him for a while. He has a history of back (injuries) over the last while and he has dealt with it really well. But this episode has set him back.

His rehab is progressing well, but it’s not something that is straightforward – where guys say ‘Right, we know what operation we are going to do, we know what the rehab looks like, so we can pretty much tell you that you are going to be back on this date.’

“It isn’t like that. The help that he is getting from the medical performance team and the IRFU medical performance team who are involved in this intimately, has been excellent.

“We will see where it takes us. But we are positive at the moment because he is making progress.”

McFarland was able to provide more clarity over the decision to put Iain Henderson under the knife to correct a hip complaint. The operation for the captain had been planned. However, as a non-essential procedure it was understandably pushed back amidst the pandemic.

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iain-henderson Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“Yeah, that was a planned operation. His hip has been giving him trouble for a while.

“We have been talking about when to get the hip operation done. Unfortunately the Covid situation obviously meant that a lot of surgeries were delayed and put back and that was the case for Iain – as it was for a few of the guys.

We could have potentially put it off longer, but often with these kind of things, it just needs to get done. We needed to get this done and we got it done as soon as we could.”

So Ulster accept the blow of losing their captain for an intense run-in to the season that will likely include a Pro14 semi-final after the forthcoming inter-pros and a European Cup quarter-final away to Toulouse. Henderson will work his way towards returning in time for Ireland’s international schedule. The same short-term plan lies before James Ryan.

“He’s our skipper,” McFarland adds of Henderson, “he’s a top man to have around the place. Luckily he is around the place now. It’s good to have him to chat to.

“We are losing a really big player – an Ireland international. That’s going to hurt.

“On the reverse side of things, those challenges are all to be overcome with opportunities for other people. The likes of Al (O’Connor), Treaders (Kieran Treadwell). Dave O’Connor and Sam (Carter) are in a position where they’re going to have to step up.

“Those guys are ready and willing to do that. They’re desperate to do it.”

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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