O’Leary back in Ireland fold as injury recovery on track

IRISH rugby bosses have reported that Tomás O’Leary ‘has rehabbed very well’ after he joined his international colleagues in a training session at the University of Limerick yesterday.

O’Leary fractured his ankle in Munster’s Magners League game against The Scarlets at Musgrave Park in April, an injury which forced him out of the Lions Tour to South Africa.

The scrum half has been working with provincial and national medics in the interim, and though he has yet to return to contact work, O’Leary has been running and turning without any difficulty.

IRFU spokesman Karl Richardson said: “He has rehabbed very well and the medical teams at Munster and Ireland are happy with his progress. The next few weeks will give us an idea as to when Tomás will be able to resume playing but right now everything is progressing according to plan.

“The entire squad is here in Limerick with the exception of Rory Best, who is unlikely to play this season. Many of them are at different stages of preparation, for instance the guys on the Lions tour and those who helped to win the Churchill Cup are a little behind those who were able to take it easy for much of the summer but that’s what was expected.”

Meanwhile Best is optimistic he can make a full recovery from neck surgery that is set to keep him out of the game this season. Best is hoping to enter hospital next month for an operation to cure a bulging disk.

“The surgeon and our physio Gareth Robinson are confident that I can make a full recovery in nine to 12 months,” said Best who made the shock announcement earlier this week. “To hopefully come back to either a Heineken Cup quarter-final or Magners League play-off games is a realistic goal. The injury itself was discovered six or seven weeks ago and my consultant gave it a while to allow the bulge to settle down. Unfortunately that didn’t happen and now I face this operation to cut out the swelling around the disk.

“The problem became acute when I was getting out of the shower and I felt something go in my neck and back and I dropped to the floor like a stone.

“Initially I had to lie on a wooden floor for a week to allow the pain and swelling to subside in order to have a scan. The bulge showed up and the specialist said that it was probably wear and tear.

“I suppose it is one of those things. I play in a position where the neck is vulnerable. Let’s face it, there are very few professional rugby players go through their career without a serious injury. This is certainly the worst I have had.

“At least the injury prevents me from taking part in the pre-season training. At least that’s some relief!”

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