'I actually don't have an answer for people' - Jamie Heaslip unsure of return date after six months out
Jamie Heaslip hasn't played since Ireland's penultimate Six Nations fixture against Wales last March, and the star back row still isn't sure when he might return.
Heaslip injured his back following Ireland's defeat in Cardiff, and has been sidelined ever since, missing the Lions tour of New Zealand in the process.
The Ireland and Leinster star spoke to Will Slattery at the National Ploughing Championships last week during a live episode of The Left Wing, Independent.ie's rugby podcast, but wasn't able to offer a firm date when he might be back on the pitch
"I actually don't have an answer for people" Heaslip said.
"It is pretty complicated what I've done. I'm literally taking it week by week - some days are good and some days are bad. I'm taking an opportunity, now that I'm not away playing games, to enjoy my weekend."
Until this setback, Heaslip had enjoyed a relatively injury-free existence as a professional player, but he has tried to see the positive side of his absence as much as possible.
"I've a growth mindset in terms of challenges and opportunities that arise with them," Heaslip said.
"The injury wasn't great timing considering everything that was at stake but the flip side is that I was able to plan holidays and plan trips and catch up with some friends and family that I haven't seen. I knew it [injury] would happen one day, it is rugby and you are going to get hurt, but I didn't think it would be such a serious injury."
While Heaslip has been sidelined, Jack Conan has excelled in the number eight jersey for Ireland and Leinster, although Heaslip is happy to take a team-first approach by mentoring his rival as his career enters its closing stage.
"At this stage of my career, I don't really care about myself, if I'm being honest," Heaslip said.
"I've been a part of some really good teams that have accomplished a lot and what I want more is the team to do well. The Ireland and Leinster jersey will live long past my involvement and at this stage of my career I want to be involved in sowing the seed for the next generation."
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