Tyrone captain Mattie Donnelly has revealed his injury could be “career-threatening” if it is not managed properly and will not return to play until he is completely happy.
Donnelly suffered a serious injury in Trillick's Ulster club defeat by Derrygonnelly a month ago when a tendon holding the hamstring to the bone was detached.
He attended last night's Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup launch in Belfast in a leg brace and while the initial prognosis was a six-month lay-off, he insists he will be ultra cautious about his rehab.
“It's not a common injury particularly in the gaelic hemisphere,” he said.
“I've heard different reports. Brian Hurley (Cork) reached out to me, Ger Cafferkey (Mayo) had the same, and it took Brian nearly 18 months to get back.
“His first stint was nine months and then had a recurrence, even though he said his first stint of rehab was perfect. He came back and was unfortunate the second time so you don't want that to be the case.”
Tyrone boss Mickey Harte is hoping Donnelly will be back in good time for the Ulster championship opener away to Donegal.
However Donnelly insists: “you can't commit to any sort of timeline”.
“It's all criteria-based. The medical team will take it in stages, you have to build the strength back to go running and you have to be hitting certain levels in the running to be considered to go back training.
“You can't set a timeline in stone.
“The more you learn about the injury it's definitely a tricky one and it's one if I don't manage it right then it is career-threatening in a way.
“That's from speaking to a few physios that are highly regarded and are experienced in dealing with it.
“You need to get it right because it's nearly one of the worst injuries you can get.”
Donnelly says the injury is having a big impact on his everyday life.
He can't drive, and needs help putting on his socks in the morning.
“It's the small things and that you need family and the other half to help you with, but that is only temporary. I'll be back on my feet in another three weeks.
“There's not a whole pile you can do until the brace comes off. That is when the hard work starts.”