Ferris set for more Lions heartache
Stephen Ferris's hopes of being selected for the B&I Lions appeared to have ended when it was revealed he faces three more months out of action.
Stephen Ferris's hopes of being selected for the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia appeared to have ended on Thursday when it was revealed he faces three more months out of action.
Ireland back row Ferris suffered an ankle injury playing for Ulster against Edinburgh in November.
It was hoped the 27-year-old, capped 35 times by Ireland, would be fit in time for the ongoing Six Nations Championship.
However, Ferris, whose career has been blighted by injuries, had to have another operation to 'clean out' the ankle and now face a further three months on the sidelines.
"Stephen Ferris was reviewed last week as part of his ongoing rehabilitation from an ankle injury that he sustained in November," an Ulster statement issued on Thursday said.
"During that review, it was discovered that although he had made excellent progress, some minor issues still remained. Those issues included function at the ankle continuing to cause pain.
"Having considered all specialist medical opinions given, Stephen underwent further ankle surgery in Belfast yesterday [Wednesday], during which fragments of bone were removed.
"Stephen will be out of rugby for another three months but following this period is expected to make a full and complete return to the game."
The anticipated time frame for Ferris's recovery means he will miss the rest of the British season, with his comeback in late May at the earliest.
But he is unlikely to be match-fit by the time the Lions begin their 10-match tour against the Barbarians in Hong Kong on June 1, with the first fixture in Australia against the Western Force in Perth four days later.
Ferris has played for Ulster just four times this season and is now set for more Lions heartache after a knee injury forced him to return home early from the 2009 tour of South Africa.