Wednesday 21 February 2018

McIlroy hopeful over rib injury but may 'rest for a week or two'

Rory McIlroy. Photo: Getty Images.
Rory McIlroy. Photo: Getty Images.

James Corrigan

Rory McIlroy will undergo an MRI scan in Belfast on Monday to discover the extent of a back injury that is threatening to blight his Players Championship.

McIlroy endured the discomfort to shoot a second-round 71, which took him to level-par and into contention. But his comments afterwards did not bode well for his chances, and would also have left the European Tour fretting.

The 28-year-old revealed he might need "a week or two" to recover and that obviously makes him a doubt for the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth the week after next.

"I've been struggling with it a bit this week, felt it for the first time on Sunday," McIlroy said. "I'm going for an MRI scan just to make sure it's not serious, and then I'll see what we do.

"It might just be a flare-up of what happened previously, and I just need to rest for a few days and it might be OK. Hopefully, that's what the scans show. But there are so many unknowns and, unless you get an image taken of it, you just don't know."

The fear is that McIlroy has suffered another stress fracture in his ribs, the same injury that forced him to take almost two months off at the start of the season. If that were the case then his summer - including the remaining three Majors - would be in jeopardy. However, McIlroy believes it is not that severe.

The world No  2 lies nine shots behind Louis Oosthuizen and Kyle Stanley who both shot 66.

McIlroy's playing partner, Dustin Johnson is also on level-par after a 73. "I didn't hit it very good, just didn't have enough looks at birdies. But if I can get something going tomorrow I can get right back in it."

Danny Willett, however, was 11-over when he withdrew after nine holes, with a back complaint and poor form taking a toll.

Shane Lowry missed the cut on six-over par, slumping to a four-over 76, compounded by a double-bogey at the par-five ninth, his final hole, when chasing the eagle he needed to give himself a chance of making the cut.

Graeme McDowell sits on one under but three bogeys in eight holes after the turn spoiled what looked like being a fine round.

Phil Mickelson, too, somewhat gave away a good start when, having reached three under par for his round and five under for the tournament, he followed a bogey by finding water on the infamous 17th for a double bogey which dropped him back to two under for the tournament.

Jordan Spieth also found water on 17 and missed the cut on four over.

Elsewhere, Gary Hurley had five birdies in a round of 69 to lie just inside the top 25 at the Open de Portugal on the Challenge Tour. Hurley is on six-under par, two shots ahead of compatriots Ruaidhri McGee and Kevin Phelan. In a rain-affected second-round, England's Matt Wallace will resume on the 13th, five shots clear on 16-under par. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

  • The Players Championship, Live, Sky Sports, 7.0pm

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