Wednesday 17 January 2018

Henshaw out for 16 weeks as migraines end Payne's tour

Sidelined: Henshaw. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Sidelined: Henshaw. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Leinster, Ulster and potentially Ireland are counting the cost of the Lions tour of New Zealand after the full extent of Robbie Henshaw and Jared Payne's injuries were revealed yesterday.

Henshaw will miss the start of next season after ripping his pectoral muscle off the bone during the Lions' draw with the Hurricanes a week ago, while Payne will take no further part in the tour after remaining in Wellington to undergo tests after coming down with migraines in the build-up to the same match.

The Leinster centre is set to be out for up to 16 weeks after undergoing an operation to re-attach the muscle on Monday.

That means he will miss the start of next season and is in a race to be fit for Leinster's European Champions Cup pool games in October and also Ireland's November internationals.

Lions head of medical Dr Eanna Falvey also provided an update both players yesterday.

Payne has been suffering from migraines and has been to see a specialist to undergo tests in the hope of getting to the bottom of the issue. The announcement brings an injury hit season to a close for Payne who damaged his kidney playing against Australia for Ireland in November and struggled with a calf problem after returning.

He has remained in Wellington and Falvey said it is not thought his headaches are not related to concussion but said it is difficult to put a time-frame on his return.

Payne apart, the Lions have a full deck to choose from for the Test decider and they return to training in Queenstown tomorrow after taking a few days off to recover from the bruising encounter last Saturday.

"Jared is undergoing some tests independent of concussion at the moment, he's had migraines," Dr Falvey said.

"He had a bang in the Chiefs game from which he recovered fully, he was fully cleared from concussion in the Head Injury Assessment (HIA) process and a subsequent specialist review. But he's been struggling with migraine and that's an independent process since then.

"Thankfully, all his tests have been good, there's nothing concerning there but he's suffering for migranous symptoms at the moment.

"The specialist who saw him in Wellington is quite happy with him. We have a couple more minor tests to do which are still outstanding, that will give us more idea of when he'll (return).

"There's nothing of concern at the moment, it's just while he still has a headache he won't be training at the moment.

"With regard to Robbie Henshaw, that was a pretty significant injury, he's completely avulsed the muscle from the bone which requires to be re-attached to the bone.

"That's usually about a 16-week recovery. He may do slightly better, but that's probably what we're looking at."

Considering the tour is taking place at the end of a long, hard season, the Lions' injury toll has been remarkably light. They lost Billy Vunipola before travelling, while Stuart Hogg, Ross Moriarty, George North and Henshaw have returned home injured.

"It's very pleasing for us," Falvey said.

"We've worked very closely with the strength and conditioning team. We meet every morning and go through the entire squad. The monitoring that is done on a daily basis adds in it's own way to keeping an eye on guys and there's a large slice of luck involved as well.

"There's no real preparation for impact injuries which occur and we've been really lucky to date on that score, but we've tried to control the controllables and to that end it's been excellent.

"We're dealing from a full squad. Anthony (Watson) had to complete his HIA process with the HIA 3 after the weekend, that's been fine.

"Other than some bumps and bruises, which have really been helped by a couple of days off, we've got a full deck to deal from," he added.

"We're at the end of a really hectic schedule, we've got guys playing who have come out of a domestic season where really nobody is playing without a bump or a bruise of some kind.

"We've then gone through a pretty rigorous schedule and some very competitive games. So almost everybody has a bump or bruise of some kind, but the ones from the weekend, surprisingly given the intensity of the game, weren't particularly bad."

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