Munster lock Paul O’Connell won’t be fit in time for Ireland’s match against Argentina on Saturday week and the Irish medical team has adopted waiting tactics as the former Lions captain battles a recurrence of the back injury that has plagued him in recent seasons.
A flare up of the bulging disc he suffers with prevented him from playing against the Springboks last weekend and Irish team doctor Michael Kearney today explained that the nature of the problem makes estimating a recovery time very difficult.
“There’s no fixed date or estimate as to when he actually will return to play. It is out there in the public domain that he’s had a couple of (anti-inflammatory) injections. He had a further injection on Friday. It will be managed for the next while and the hope is that it can settle down over the next few weeks,” the doctor told the Irish Examiner.
Kearney continued: “Certainly the nature of the injury means that it’s a question of wait-and-see. It certainly isn’t a black and white situation in terms of knowing the exact prognosis for what you do from this moment on.”
He dealt manager Declan Kidney a further blow when he confirmed that Stephen Ferris would also miss the vital match against the Pumas on 24 November. The Ulster back row sustained and ankle injury that forced him out of the defeat by South Africa and Kearney doesn’t anticipate he will have recovered in time.
“He has significant ankle ligament damage and is continuing to receive intensive treatment. But at this stage, we don’t expect him to be available for the game against Argentina on Saturday week,” he added.