April return is O’Connell’s goal

Paul O'Connell hopes to be back in action in April after kicking-off 2013 with a successful operation on his injured back. [more]

April return is O’Connell’s goal

Paul O’Connell hopes to be back in action in April after kicking-off 2013 with a successful operation on his injured back.

The 2009 British & Irish Lions skipper returned home to Cork from Dublin on New Years Day to start his rehabilitation and is not giving up hope of staking a claim for a third Lions tour this summer.

"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."

The surgery was carried out to correct a bulging disc that was pressing on a nerve in his lower back. O'Connell had a similar issue in 2002 that required surgery and a re-occurrence in 2008.

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At that time the injury was managed without surgery and he got back in time to feature in the knock-out stages of the Heineken Cup and Magners League. When the problem arose again this season it was initially decided to manage it conservatively as in 2008.

However, though progress was made using that treatment, improvements slowed and after further consultation it was believed more prudent for him to undergo surgery in order to make a return to match fitness.

O’Connell has managed only two games for Munster this season and will now miss a third round of international matches for Ireland when the RBS 6 Nations comes around next month. A five month long knee injury forced him to pull out of last summer’s tour to New Zealand and his back problem wrecked his hopes of playing in the Autumn Series.
 

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