Sean St Ledger doubt for key qualifiers
SEAN ST LEDGER does not know when he will be able to return to action and remains a major doubt for Ireland's crucial World Cup qualifiers against Sweden and Austria in March.
The Leicester City defender tore his hamstring in October and missed Ireland's matches against Germany, the Faroe Islands and Greece as a result.
Given Richard Dunne's enforced absence, it left Giovanni Trapattoni without his first-choice defenders as his side slipped to their biggest home defeat ever against the Germans.
St Ledger's injury has been further complicated, leaving the 27-year-old centre-half unsure of when he can come back and unable to say whether he will be fit to play any part in Ireland's qualifiers.
He could turn to German Dr Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt, who is Bayern Munich's club medic, the German national team doctor and has treated the likes of Usain Bolt, Stephen Roche and even Bono in the past.
If that doesn't work, St Ledger may need to undergo surgery that would definitely rule him out for two months.
"It has been a bit longer than I anticipated. I'm still not cured or sure what the problem is so it could be a while yet," he said forlornly at last night's Football For All 2012.
"It is the same injury that ruled me out of the Germany game. I've attempted to go back training a couple of times, but there has been bleeding on the muscle. That has stayed there," St Ledger said.
"I don't think it was ever going to be easy. It was a grade two (tear), so I knew it would be long, but I never anticipated it would take this long.
"I'm just going in each day and taking it easily, I might be going to Germany for a second opinion. The last option is to have surgery and have it drained, but that's two months out and it's the last thing I want.
"It is a pretty rare condition and the medics have said they haven't seen too many people with this kind of injury. It is not something simple as hamstrings usually are. It is more complicated."
The news will come as a blow to Trapattoni, who is also sweating on Dunne's fitness.
Ireland play Poland in a friendly on February 6, before taking on Sweden in Stockholm on March 22 and Austria in Dublin four days later.