CHRIS FARRELL’S RECOVERY from a serious knee injury is taking longer than expected and the Munster centre is still some time away from making a return to full fitness.
Farrell suffered the second ACL injury of his career during an Ireland training session at the Aviva Stadium last February, days after a man-of-the-match performance against Wales.
Farrell has been sidelined since February. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO
Munster were initially hopeful of having the 25-year-old back for the start of their Champions Cup campaign early next month, but that timeline has been readjusted as he won’t be available until Christmas at the earliest.
It is a cruel setback for Farrell, who had been in excellent form during his first season with Munster after returning to Ireland from French outfit Grenoble.
“He’s still a long way off, he won’t be back anytime soon,” Johann van Graan said at today’s Champions Cup launch in Dublin.
“He’s mentally very well, he’s working very hard off the field but in terms of a return to train with the team, he’s still a long way off.
“We won’t see him before the Champions Cup starts but hopefully before Christmas. I don’t have the exact timings, those injuries are difficult to judge.”
The Munster head coach said the rehabilitation process when recovering from an injury of that severity is slow, and the medical team are carefully managing Farrell’s return to full training.
“All the clever guys, medical guys that do these things have got certain points of return and certain stages, certain players are better than others you know?” the South African continued.
“It’s such a big injury, you don’t want to put him in there too early. You can’t guarantee that it won’t happen again but you certainly don’t want to push such a big injury.
“I’m trusting my medical staff to make those calls so whatever calls they give me, I just go on that. Like I said, it’s a such a long injury, a nine-month period, so many things can happen so I just take the info that I can get.”
Farrell’s continued absence has at least been offset somewhat by the return of Jaco Taute in recent weeks, but Munster will be keen to get their three-time capped Ireland centre back to bolster midfield options.
The southern province face Ulster in Saturday’s Pro14 inter-pro [KO 7.35pm, eir Sport/Premier Sports] and could have Keith Earls back available after the winger missed last week’s defeat in Cardiff through injury.
Meanwhile, Sean O’Brien came through squad training with Leinster at UCD yesterday and is in contention to make his long-awaited return in Saturday’s clash with Connacht in Galway.
Leo Cullen said the Ireland flanker is looking ‘pretty sharp’, before adding: “He’s not a million miles away. He trained a good bit last week, and stepped it up yesterday.”
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