Healy 'progressing nicely' as Ireland look to keep the pressure off

Joe Schmidt’s backroom team are ‘giving him the best opportunity’ to prove his World Cup fitness.

IRELAND SAY THEY are treating Cian Healy’s recovery from neck surgery on a “week-to-week” basis, with the hope still being that the loosehead prop will prove his fitness in time for the World Cup.

Cian Healy Healy at Ireland training in Musgrave Park last week. Billy Stickland / INPHO Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

After news of a setback for Healy broke last week, the Irish management have insisted that the prop’s rehabilitation from an operation in May is progressing well. However, the hesitance to add to the pressure on the 27-year-old means they have drawn short of putting a defined timescale on his expected return to playing.

That said, there is some hope that Healy will feature in at least one of the World Cup warm-up games.

Cian is progressing nicely, and working week to week with the medical team,” said Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby in Carton House this afternoon.

“We’re giving him the best opportunity to get right over the next couple of weeks so we can hopefully include him towards the end of August.

“Referring to what was said last week, he is doing his rehabilitation programme and it’s going according to plan. It is a week-to-week thing and we don’t want to put too much pressure on his return. I think he’s progressing nicely at the moment, but we’re not going to put any timescale on it.”

Cian Healy Healy at Ireland training in Carton House today. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Asked whether the reports on Healy last week had perhaps been over the top, Easterby said:

“I’m not sure. I think the medical team are on top of things and they’re pretty comfortable about how it’s going. We have to obviously take advice from them in terms of where they feel Cian is and at the moment we’re just taking it week to week.

We don’t want to put any more pressure on the situation. It’s a case of him going through the rehabilitation and that will hopefully continue to improve as we go week to week.”

With 51 caps for Ireland already, Healy is a proven performer at international level and therefore may have less need to feature against Wales, Scotland and England in the coming weeks. If he’s healthy, it seems obvious that Healy will travel to the World Cup.

Nonetheless, Easterby did point out that it would be far from ideal for Healy to arrive at the global tournament with no match fitness.

Cian Healy with Michael Bent Healy looks to beat Michael Bent. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

“They’re Test matches and it’s important that we have guys who are fully fit,” said Easterby. “It’s not ideal for any player not to get game time during this period, but we have to take a view of each individual and make sure we do the right thing by them.

“That will be the case with all the players who might be coming back from surgery. We’ll make sure that we re-introduce them to game time as and when.”

Meanwhile, Easterby said that the three other Ireland players returning from surgery are making positive progress and are in line to feature in the World Cup warm-ups, albeit that Saturday’s clash with Wales will come too soon.

There are the obvious guys who came back from shoulder surgery – so Luke Fitzgerald, Marty Moore and Sean Cronin – who are all progressing nicely,” said Easterby. “They’re going through their rehabilitation programme and working hard to get back to full fitness.

“I think you can probably take it that those guys who have come back from surgery, it’s difficult for those guys to be selected when they’ve a continual programme of rehab. None of them are far away at all, which is great for us.

“Hopefully before long we’ll have a full deck to select from.”

Originally published at 14.19

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