Tuesday 31 January 2023 Dublin: 8°C
# Fallen Giant
'It's the worst injury pain I've had' - POC could be out for eight months
The second row will make his move to Toulon in December.

PAUL O’CONNELL SAYS he could be sidelined for up to eight months following surgery on the hamstring injury that ended his World Cup.

The Ireland captained ripped his hamstring from the bone during Ireland’s Pool D victory over France in Cardiff, ruling him out of the quarter-final clash with Argentina a week later.

Paul O'Connell down injured Dan Sheridan / INPHO O'Connell was injured at the World Cup. Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

The 36-year-old is set to join Top 14 giants Toulon, although his departure to France has been delayed until December due to the severity of his hamstring injury.

“I don’t know, it’s very approximate,” said O’Connell today at the launch of the PINERGYsmart service. “It’s kind of between four and it could be eight months. You just don’t know.

“The surgeon was very happy with how the surgery went. He doesn’t see there being any problems, but I’ve had a lot of injuries that haven’t really gone like that. There’s been ups and downs with my injuries in terms of how I’ve recovered.

“I wouldn’t be as naive to think that it’ll be plain sailing. I’m just going to follow the protocols religiously, as I’ve always done, and hopefully that can get me in a place to get back playing before the end of the season.”

O’Connell described the injury as the most painful of his career.

It’s the worst injury pain I’ve had, because your sciatic nerve runs really close to where the tendon is,” said O’Connell. “Apparently when you pull the tendon off the bone, you get a lot bleeding and a lot of bruising, a lot of swelling straight away, which hits the sciatic nerve.

“That’s where the pain comes from. It’s funny the amount of things that go through your head when it happens. I thought of when Eoin Reddan broke his ankle (against France in the 2013 Six Nations), and I remember him trying to get up.

“I was thinking of myself on the ground, that I’d only pulled my hamstring so I better get up. But it was too sore and then when the physio and the doctor came on, I was thinking the same thing again: ‘it’s only my hamstring so I don’t need to be stretchered off’.

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Paul O'Connell Donall Farmer / INPHO O'Connell arriving back into Dublin from the World Cup. Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

“I’d never been stretchered off in my career so I got up, but that was too sore and I went back down. I got stretchered off and I was on the gas after that and I didn’t think of too much more after that.”

The legendary lock also said he has been relatively incapacitated since undergoing the surgery in the UK before Ireland’s meeting with Argentina.

“I was operated on on the Thursday and I’ve just been on the flat of my back since,” said O’Connell. “I got out of the hotel to go to the Argentina game, then we travelled home and I’ve literally just been on the flat of my back for the last two weeks.

I was pain free after about a week on the flat of my back. I’m pain free sitting down now for about four days. The Munster lads took me out for lunch twice and Emily (his wife) took me for a pizza once, but apart from that I haven’t left the house. This has been my first time leaving the house.

“It’s a frustrating time. I spoke to the physio in Toulon last week and he said it’s an injury where you just have to do your time with it. Shoulder injuries or even cruciates now, you come out of it and there’s a lot you can do straight away.

“With this one you really have to put down a really tough six weeks where you have to be very careful, particularly in the first two weeks. If you slip and you stretched the hamstring, you could be in trouble.”

Paul O’Connell, who is a shareholder in PINERGY, launched the new PINERGYsmart service. The service offers consumers a smart in-home display and a first-to-market mobile app which, combined, can conveniently help consumers use less and pay less for their electricity.

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