O'Connell holding on to Lions dream

Tue, 01 Jan 2013 15:40
Paulo_connelllions Paulo_connellireland Paulo_connellmunster

In terms of a return, I'd be looking at early April


Paul O'Connell is still hopeful of playing for the British and Irish Lions after undergoing successful back surgery in Dublin on New Year’s Eve.

It had been feared that the former Lions and Ireland captain would miss the June tour of Australia because of a bulging disc in his back.

However, the veteran lock is optimistic about his chances following his surgery and is eyeing a return to action in April.

"I'm delighted with the way the operation went. More importantly, so too are the medical team who carried out the operation and I am very grateful to all concerned,” said O’Connell.

“My aim now is to start rehab as soon as is practicable. In terms of a return, I'd be looking at early April when hopefully Munster will be in contention for trophies on two fronts."

O'Connell had a similar issue in 2002 that required surgery and a re-occurrence in 2008 but at that time it was managed without needing surgery and he got back in time to feature in the knockout stages of the European Cup

When the problem arose again this season, it was initially decided to manage it conservatively as in 2008. Progress was made using that treatment, improvements slowed and after further consultation it was believed more prudent for O’Connell to undergo surgery in order to make a return to match fitness.