MUNSTER have been dealt another major injury blow with confirmation that utility back Keith Earls is set to be sidelined for three to four months after undergoing knee surgery in London yesterday.
The exciting Earls met with a consultant in London on Monday evening when the decision was taken that the Limerickman, who turns 27 tomorrow, should have surgery for the injury to the patellar tendon on his right knee.
Earls, who sustained the injury over the summer, has been unable to recover through conservative rehabilitation. Earls is set to miss Munster’s four opening rounds of fixtures in the new European Champions Cup and will be in a race against time to make it back for the final two rounds of group games. He is also set to miss Ireland’s three-match autumn international series.
News of Earls’ injury setback comes in the wake of confirmation that Donnacha Ryan is facing four to six months out of action with a foot injury. Ryan is due to have surgery on the injury tomorrow, Thursday.
On a more positive note, Munster report that Peter O’Mahony, who has been sidelined with a shoulder injury and hooker Damien Varley, who has been out of action with a foot injury, trained fully with the squad at UL yesterday. Anthony Foley will make a call on their availability for Saturday’s crucial Guinness PRO12 game with arch rivals Leinster at the Aviva Stadium (6.30pm) later in the week. Munster have lost their last five meetings with Leinster at the Lansdowne Road venue.
Anthony Foley said: “We would been eyeing up Keith (Earls) for being available this week when he went down with the knee injury during pre-season. Unfortunately, on his return to play, he was sidestepping and the same feeling came in his knee when he did it above in national camp during the summer.
“We needed to address the rehab. We got him to see the surgeon in London and the best advice was to go in and rectify the problem. It is annoying, frustrating, all of the above, but it is reality.
“Keith has played 9 games for us last season and something like 20 in the last two seasons out of 60-odd. This injury has been going on for about two years, on and off.
“We are hoping this will rectify the problem and get him a run of games. He deserves that and Irish supporters deserve to go into a ground and see Keith play.”