The achilles tendon injury suffered by Mayo star Cillian O’Connor will ‘take time to heal’ and will rule the All-Star attacker out of football for at least the rest of this year, according to one experienced chartered physiotherapist.
John Reilly, who works with the ‘Westport Physio and Acupuncture Clinic’, was watching the National League Division 2 semi-final between Mayo and Clare in Ennis on TV on Sunday week last when O’Connor sustained the injury.
The manner of the incident immediately reminded Reilly of when former Manchester United and England midfielder David Beckham ruptured his achilles tendon playing for AC Milan in March of 2010.
Beckham was out of action for six months before returning to play for LA Galaxy in September of that year.
“Rupturing a tendon is as bad as rupturing an ACL and sometimes it can be worse,” Reilly explained.
“It obviously all depends on the exact nature of Cillian’s injury, and whether it’s a partial rupture or a full rupture of the Achilles tendon. But the fact that he has undergone a procedure suggests that it’s of a certain seriousness.
“The conservative timeframe after the re-attachment of a tendon like that is approximately 12 weeks in an airtight boot. Because the chances of it detaching are very high.”
Reilly said he also studied the player’s body language in the immediate aftermath of the incident closely, and read Mayo GAA’s official statement last week where it was confirmed that the Ballintubber native would ‘undergo a procedure’ on his Achilles tendon.
It’s understood that the procedure has already taken place.
“From watching it on TV, Cillian seemed to be wrong-footed when the ball was played in and took a quick step back to correct himself. You can actually see the movement where the tendon ruptures,” said Reilly.
“Based on what I saw on TV, and on the information released by Mayo GAA, my ‘best-case scenario’ would be a six-months-plus rehabilitation period for an injury like this,” he added.
“You have to remember that Cillian was playing senior inter-county football so to get back to that level again is going to take a lot of time. It all depends on how a person rehabs and how good their recovery is. The physical and psychological ramifications shouldn’t be overlooked either.
“Because the Achilles tendon is so integral to running, jumping, twisting, and turning, if things don’t go to plan and the recovery is slow, then it could take 12 to 18 months before a player is ready to get back into competition. Any rupture of a tendon will take time to heal.”
O’Connor’s former Mayo team-mate, Andy Moran, has already said that he would ‘be surprised if we see Cillian in a Mayo jersey again this year’.