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Dublin: 6°C Wednesday 2 December 2020

Sean O'Brien set for surgery and facing 'considerable period' on the sidelines

The Tullow Tank suffered a massive setback in his rehab in the last weekend of the regular season and will miss Ireland’s tour to South Africa.

Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

IRELAND AND LEINSTER openside Sean O’Brien is, according to his coach Leo Cullen, likely to undergo surgery next week on his hamstring and will be sidelined for ‘a considerable period’.

The Tullow Tank hobbled out of Ireland’s Six Nations defeat to France with a high hamstring tear. After progressing close to a return to action on a conservative rehabilitation plan, O’Brien then suffered a serious setback in the final week of the season and today Cullen said he expects the Carlow man to go under the knife.

“Sean O’Brien is going to see a specialist in the UK again tomorrow, so the likelihood is he’s going to have surgery on that hamstring, which would rule him out for a considerable period. I’m not sure how long, we’ll get the update after the procedure.

“He had the high hamstring tear and there were still fibers in tact. Guys have been able to rehab back without surgery from similar injuries.

“Other guys have had that complete rupture where they’ve gone for the surgical route straight away. It was slower to heal than we would have liked, he was getting close and putting in his rehab, but just broke down at that stage.

“We sought out a few opinions at that stage and he’s going down the surgical route now which is frustrating for all.”

Cian Healy Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

O’Brien was not the only Leinster star shrouded in injury doubt approaching the end of the campaign, loosehead Cian Healy continues to have his training workload closely managed due to an accumulation of knocks, not least the ultra-sensitive region that is the neck.

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“It’s unlikely Cian will feature for us this season,” Cullen added after announcing his team to face Ulster in the Pro12 semi-final tomorrow.

“He’s just being assessed all the time. Apologies if that comes across as vague, but the reality is that we’re just trying to put a really good plan in place for him so we’re assessing him on a very regular basis.

“He had a surgical procedure this time last year on his neck. It’s been slow coming back when he’s had a little bit of nerve damage. He had a procedure done to repair those nerves so it’s taken time to come back.

“To complicate matters further, he’s also been carrying an issue with his knee but he’s on a good course of action for that.

“We’re not trying to be vague, but unfortunately it does sometimes appear that way.”

On the plus side, Leinster were able to welcome back Luke Fitzgerald for tomorrow’s 19.45 kick-off after the versatile back picked up a minor knee injury in last month’s defeat to Ulster.

“He’s looked sharp in training, so it’s great to have him back. He’s a very exciting player when he’s on form. He’s had a few injuries over the course of the season, but he’s looking really good in training.”

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Sean Farrell

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