O’Driscoll optimistic

Lions legend Brian O'Driscoll is optimistic of continuing to play at the top level next year. [more]

O’Driscoll optimistic

Lions legend Brian O’Driscoll is optimistic of continuing to play at the top level next year.

The 2005 Lions skipper could yet feature on a fourth successive tour when Britain and Ireland’s elite head to Hong Kong and Australia in 2013.

O’Driscoll had been written off by critics after undergoing surgery to cure a neck and shoulder operation after the World Cup but the 33-year-old returned to action last month and has been in sparkling form ever since.

Question marks still surround his ability to get through another full season of first-class rugby, however, with those who doubt him pointing to the fact that he required surgery on his knee in the lead up to Leinster’s Heineken Cup Final triumph on Saturday.

The Ireland captain somehow recovered in time to play his part in the 42-14 win over Ulster but initial concerns appeared to be compounded when he was forced off after 67 minutes at Twickenham.

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O’Driscoll returned to the action for the final few minutes, though, and his father Frank, who is a doctor, has since spoken of the injury and has made it clear that the star centre hopes to carry on playing for another season.

"I thought he was going off and not coming back, in fact I was hoping he wasn’t coming back because I presumed his knee was acting up," Frank told RTÉ Radio 1.

"Ironically though the wound from his arthroscopy that he had last week opened and he had to go off with a blood injury. So he got that strapped up and came back right as rain.

"It’s extraordinary what they (surgeons) can do. He damaged his leg at training and was told to check it out the following morning at 6am to find out if it was good or bad. And at 7.15am he had surgery.

"Please God we’ll have another year of it. He’s optimistic about playing next year and hopefully we’ll get another year out of it."

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