Long lay-off for O'Driscoll
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll will undergo surgery on his shoulder and is expected to be ruled out for up to six months.
Last Updated: 07/11/11 10:02pm
Ireland and Leinster centre Brian O'Driscoll will undergo surgery on his shoulder and is expected to be ruled out for up to six months.
The Ireland captain will have an operation on a trapped nerve and is set to miss both the RBS Six Nations campaign and the vast majority of the domestic and European season.
The 32-year-old had struggled with a shoulder problem throughout the recent Rugby World Cup and has not yet played for defending Heineken Cup champions Leinster this season.
And he has now opted to go under the knife in an attempt to cure the problem, but may not be able to return to action until May.
O'Driscoll said that surgery was the only solution after the injury started to affect both his rugby and his personal life.
"It's a trapped nerve starting from my neck and running down into my arm. I need the operation for general life, not just from a rugby point of view," he said
"It had become too uncomfortable over the past eight or so months and has grown progressively worse since the World Cup.
"I just couldn't go through another full season like this. The time came to get some opinions on it and all the surgeons I saw were singing from the same hymn sheet. That gave me confidence that it did need doing.
"I've felt it during collisions, whether I've been in control of them or not. It hasn't been dangerous, but you go down because your arm doesn't work which means you're not much good to your team."
However, O'Driscoll dismissed any suggestions that the long lay-off may prompt him to consider retirement.
He added: "This gives me the chance to go away, refocus and set more goals for the latter part of my career.
"When the operation is done I'll be able to come back and get some quality rehab done and then set an exact date to return on.
"The latter stages of the Heineken Cup is something to target. I'll know more about how I'm feeling and if I'm getting stronger in the weeks after the operation."
It is not the first time O'Driscoll has been sidelined with a shoulder injury, as he famously missed most of the 2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand after suffering a dislocated shoulder following a spear tackle by Tana Umaga.
O'Driscoll, who earned the first of his 117 Ireland caps in 1999, now faces a race against time to return to fitness before the end of the season.
The centre is Ireland's record try scorer and this year crossed for an all-time record 25th Six Nations try during the win over England.