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Further setback for Kearney after ankle operation but Sexton nears return

The winger will be sidelined for the next six weeks, while Sexton could be back for the Ulster interpro.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

DAVE KEARNEY HAS suffered a further setback in his recovery from a troublesome ankle injury after being forced to undergo surgery in a bid to rectify the problem.

The Leinster and Ireland winger now faces a further six weeks on the sidelines after going under the knife on advice from a specialist.

Kearney sustained the injury in the Guinness Pro12 victory over Cardiff Blues on 1 October and the issue proved more serious than originally expected with a rehab programme failing to heal the ankle.

“He had surgery last week,” Leinster coach Stuart Lancaster said at UCD this afternoon.

“Basically they tried to rehab it and he was making slow progress and when he came back to his on-field running it still wasn’t right. He had some body fragments taken out which is then going to relieve the last problem and he’ll be back six weeks from now.”

The update on Johnny Sexton is, however, more positive and the picture over the out-half’s fitness appears to be somewhat clearer as Leinster approach the busy festive period.

Sexton will continue to work closely with specialists at the Sports Surgery Clinic in Santry but Lancaster expects him to return to on-field training later in the week. The province are confident he could return for the interpro clash with Ulster on 31 December.

Jonathan Sexton Sexton will continue his recovery this week. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“They’re doing a lot for him,” Lancaster said of Sexton’s work out in Santry as he continues to rehab his hamstring injury.

“They know what they’re doing over there and it’s basically a rehabilitation programme to make sure to eradicate any weaknesses and get him back playing.

“The timeline is positive in the sense that he’s making good progress and hopefully he’ll be doing some on-field sessions towards the end of the week. He won’t be right for this week [v Munster] but he’s not far away at all.

“He’ll struggle for the first one [interpro] but it’s looking positive, he’s making good progress but we won’t really know until he gets back on the field.”

Otherwise, Leinster issued a clean bill of health following their emphatic Champions Cup victory over Northampton at the weekend.

Cian Healy was taken off after 77 minutes at the Aviva Stadium with a suspected head injury but the province say no HIA was required and he’s available for selection this week.

Cian Healy Cian Healy is available for the trip to Thomond Park. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Rob Kearney (ankle), Joey Carbery (ankle), Fergus McFadden (calf), Mike Ross (hamstring), Jordi Murphy (ACL) and Cathal Marsh (hand) all remain long-term absentees.

“We came out well from the game really,” Lancaster said of the weekend. “A really positive performance and pleased with how we defended and the shape of our attack. We’re set well for Munster now.”

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