O’Connell out for 4-6 weeks

Lions skipper Paul O'Connell looks unlikely to feature for Ireland this summer. [more]

Paul O'Connell

Lions skipper Paul O’Connell looks unlikely to feature for Ireland this summer.

The Munster second row has been ruled out of action for between four and six weeks after twisting his knee at the weekend.

O’Connell suffered the injury in the 55th minute of his side’s win over Ulster on Saturday and has since had a scan to determine the extent of the setback.

The 32-year-old will miss Munster’s RaboDirect PRO12 play-off at the Ospreys this week, as well as the Grand Final should Munster return from the Liberty Stadium with a win.

Ireland travel to New Zealand for a three-Test series against the All Blacks, with the first international kicking off in just under a month’s time.

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Declan Kidney’s men take on the World Champions on June 9, 16 and 23 in Auckland, Christchurch and Waikato respectively.

A four-week absence would mean O’Connell would be fit to play just days before the first Test, while a six-week lay-off would rule him out of all bar the final international.

Fellow 2009 Lion Luke Fitzgerald has already sidelined for Ireland as he requires surgery on a neck problem.

Fitzgerald, who featured in the Lions’ 28-25 second-Test defeat to the Springboks three years ago, has been beset with injuries since his return from South Africa.

The Leinster wing missed the 2010 RBS 6 Nations campaign after picking up a serious knee injury against Australia in November 2009 and was subsequently overlooked for the 2011 World Cup squad.

He again missed the latest 6 Nations tournament with injury but had looked to near to regaining his best form as Leinster surged to this year’s Heineken Cup Final.

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