Conway faces fitness race for Leinster opener after tendonitis hurts progress
Kildare playmaker Mikey Conway has suffered a setback in his bid to recover from cruciate ligament operations on both knees in time for the start of the Leinster Championship.
The half-back was a hugely influential figure for the Lilywhites last year, with his kick-passing from deep and ability to pick off points, before suffering a cruciate ligament injury to his right knee in the final-round qualifier victory over Wicklow last July.
Ironically, the Nurney man, who went under the knife to have the cruciate ligament in his left knee fixed in 2005, had taken a blow on the repaired knee in the Leinster Championship victory over Offaly that forced him out of the quarter-final win against Wexford. He returned for the Leinster final but suffered another knock in the same area in that game.
A scope taken while dealing with the injury suffered against Wicklow revealed a partial tear of the cruciate in his left knee, which would not have necessitated surgery on its own. Given that he was going under the knife for his right knee anyway, it was decided to restore his other one to full working order as well.
The surgeries -- carried out by renowned surgeon Ray Moran, who also did the operation in 2005 -- were a success and Conway did manage to resume running. He looked on target to be available for the summer but, having felt some discomfort, has been diagnosed with tendonitis on the patella tendon on his right knee.
This is a common problem for people returning from cruciate injuries due to the extra pressure that is placed on the tendon. Rest is the only cure and Conway now faces a race against time to be in contention for Kildare's Leinster Championship quarter-final against either Louth or Longford on June 5.
Better news for Kildare though is the return to training of Dermot Earley (knee), Gary White (hamstring) and Padraig O'Neill (virus) after the trio missed last Sunday's narrow victory over Westmeath.
Earley is certain to be restored to the middle of the field for tomorrow night's grudge tie with Laois at O'Moore Park.
Meanwhile, Alan Smith continues to train with the squad but remains some way off achieving full fitness, having missed most of the pre-season with injuries and then having been off the panel entirely through February.
The Sarsfields man is working very hard though, and while he will not start against Laois, he could well come into contention for the final-round game against Meath.