Friday 17 November 2017

O'Brien ear problem adds to concussion concerns

Sean O’Brien: faces another anxious week
Sean O’Brien: faces another anxious week
David Kelly

David Kelly

Sean O'Brien faces another anxious week as he tries to get the all-clear from his latest concussion but an ear problem continues to complicate his recovery.

After two successive weeks when he failed to complete the return-to-play protocols following the concussion suffered against Wasps last month, Leinster confirmed that his third attempt to resume playing may not be straightforward.

"After further investigation during the Return to Play Protocols and having met with an ear specialist, Sean is now also being treated for an inner ear issue - vestibular impairment - which affects his balance," according to the club.

He took a limited part in training yesterday and will be assessed on an ongoing basis.

Richardt Strauss, one of three players to be concussed in the Wasps game, the second time this year that three Leinster players were concussed in the same game, has been passed fit to return for this week's trip to Pro12 champions Glasgow.

Out-half Jonathan Sexton suffered a knock to his lower back and glute against Ulster last Friday but, along with Rob Kearney - a late withdrawal from that game with persistent hamstring tightness - is expected to be available.

"It was more precautionary that we took him off," said Leinster assistant coach Girvan Dempsey.

Stiffen

"He got a bang into his lower back and his glute, he started to stiffen up so we felt it necessary to take him off. We got him off the field pretty quickly. He's fine, he was just a bit stiff and sore after such an attritional game.

"Rob has made huge strides, even over the weekend, on his rehab programme. It's a separate strain to that which affected the World Cup. He's confident and itching to get back."

Scrum-half Luke McGrath has a medial strain and will be out of the game this weekend but he is expected to be back in contention for the visit to Toulon.

"Luke got caught awkwardly in a tackle and strained his medial ligament," reported Dempsey. "Thankfully, it's not as serious as we first thought. He's out of action this weekend, but we're hopeful he'll be back then."

Noel Reid hasn't broken any bone in his ankle after shipping a heavy knock when arriving as a second-half replacement - ironically for Sexton - but there is ligament damage. He is waiting for the results of a further scan before seeing a specialist later this week to decide on the best course of action.

Munster prop BJ Botha sustained a concussion and was replaced at half-time in the weekend defeat to Connacht and will follow the return-to-play protocols this week.

Irish Independent

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