Warburton eyeing up return from injury this month

British & Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton expects to be back playing later this month after making progress with his shoulder injury. [more]

Warburton eyeing up return from injury this month

British & Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton expects to be back playing later this month after making progress with his shoulder injury.

The flanker has been sidelined since the end of November after sustaining nerve damage to his shoulder during Wales’ 30-26 defeat to Australia during the autumn internationals.

Having missed the deciding Test for the British & Irish Lions against Australia this summer, there were fears that he would this time be absent for Wales in the forthcoming Six Nations.

But the 25-year-old, who suffered a similar injury during the 2012 Six Nations decider against France which kept him out for nearly three months, has allayed any fears over his long-term fitness,

“I’m hoping to return to playing some time in mid-January. It’s the sort of injury you’ve got to take one week at a time,” Warburton told Wales Online.

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“I’ve been doing lots of fitness work and it’s a case of building up strength in the shoulder.

“It’s not an operation job because it’s nerve damage. It was just an impact on the sweet spot which has caused the nerve to become concussed.

“I knew it was a similar injury to the one I had towards the end of the 2012 Six Nations because I had the same symptoms. It was the same shoulder.

“I might have to wear some more protection, because I don’t wear padding on my shoulders. That will probably help a bit.”

Wales will be hoping to have their captain back leading the team as they look to defend their Six Nations crown from last year.

And while confident of hitting the ground running, Warburton acknowledges there are plenty of players able to step up, including fellow victorious British & Irish Lion Justin Tipuric.

“I’ve gone into internationals without having played for a couple of months,” added Warburton.

“But, on the other hand, with guys like Justin Tipuric and Josh Turnbull around, it’s not as if Wales are short of No 7s and need to rush me back.

“I can make sure it’s strong again and then try and get back in the team.”
 

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