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Injury toll: Sean O'Brien ruled out until December

The flanker will undergo surgery to repair cartilage in his hip, a problem also being suffered by Dave Kearney and Rhys Ruddock.

Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

SEAN O’BRIEN HAS emerged as a serious doubt for Ireland’s autumn schedule and the early stages of Leinster’s Heineken Cup defence.

The Tullow back-row will undergo keyhole surgery to repair cartilage on his hip this week.

Ireland team manager, Mick Kearney has signalled the lay-off period will be upwards of three months.

“Obviously it’s going to make him doubtful for the November series.” Kearney told Planet Rugby.

“Full recovery is expected but I suppose, like any operation, there is always some risk attached to it, but certainly the medics would feel that he would make a full recovery and that he will certainly be back.

“The (recovery) date I think is towards the end of October and he should be back playing Heineken Cup rounds three and four in December.

“It has been an ongoing problem and it has been managed over a period of time. The exact length of time, I can’t be sure of at this stage.”

O’Brien will not be alone in his rehabilitation as Leinster have also been hit with a similar problem to Dave Kearney and Rhys Ruddock. Kearney admitted that the growing frequency of the problem in the modern game is cause for concern, but there is not definitive reason for it .

“It seems to be a more common type of injury than heretofore.” Said the team manager, “I’m not sure the reason why. People are a bit mystified by it.”

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