Healy in race to be fit for start of new season as delight turns to despair
CIAN HEALY is facing the possibility of surgery and a lengthy lay-off as he recovers from the ankle ligament injury that has ended his Lions tour.
The worst case scenario is that Healy has suffered a Grade Three ligament injury – a complete rupture – that would see him struggle to be back in time for the start of Leinster's season.
The Ireland prop forward is expected to leave Brisbane with the Lions squad on Monday. He will travel home to Dublin while the rest of the squad move on to Newcastle.
On his return to Ireland, he will consult with the IRFU and Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt, after which a suitable path back to full fitness will be determined. It is possible he will opt to undergo surgery in an effort to shorten his recovery time.
It was a good sign that Healy was able to walk to yesterday's disciplinary hearing without the aid of crutches.
However, nothing concrete will be known until the IRFU medical team examine him properly and determine a course of treatment.
Healy's day of woe started on a relatively positive note when he was cleared of any wrongdoing, having been cited for allegedly biting Western Force scrum-half Brett Sheehan.
Judicial officer Nigel Hampton QC cleared Healy following the two-and-a-half-hour disciplinary hearing, much to the player's delight.
"I am very relieved that this hearing has cleared me of such an allegation. I was naturally very disappointed that there was a citing in the first place," said Healy just hours before going for a scan.
His delight was short-lived, however, as his Lions tour was officially brought to an end a few hours later when it was confirmed his injury has resulted in his being replaced in the squad.