Leinster back row Seán O’Brien will undergo hip surgery this week and is now a major doubt for November’s Test match with South Africa at the AVIVA Stadium.
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The Carlow man had been carrying a knock to his hip going into Ireland’s ill-fated tour of New Zealand and will now miss at least four months of action due to surgery.
“He is going having some keyhole surgery on his hip to repair some cartilage damage,” said Irish team manager Mick Kearney.
“Surgery is imminent, it’s going to happen within the next week or so and the recovery period for this type of operation is 13 to 15 weeks. It means it could be up to four months.
“Obviously it’s going to make him doubtful for the November series.”
O’Brien will definitely miss the opening rounds of Leinster’s RaboDirect Pro12 campaign and is likely to miss the first two rounds of Heineken Cup action in October.
“Full recovery is expected but I suppose, like any operation, there is always some risk attached to it,” said Kearney.