Kilkenny star, Henry Shefflin, faces another long lay-off from hurling.
The Ballyhale Shamrocks attacker had surgery recently on a broken bone in his foot, and indictions are that it could be close to the middle of the year before he is fit to resume playing.
The 34-year-old, who celebrated his birthday recently, suffered the injury in the Leinster club championship clash against Oulart-the-Balalgh (Wexford) before Christmas. On top of the fracture, it is believed a muscle became detatched from the bone, which complicated the problem.
Surgery went well, and Shefflin could be on crutches for up to 10 weeks. He is said to be in good spirits and is determined to get back playing.
Rehab will follow when he casts aside the crutches, and after that Shefflin can begin to work on his physical fitness. A return some time in May might be possible, but the nine times All-Ireland medal winner won’t be rushed.
Shefflin suffered two separate cruciate ligament injuries in the past, and also a shoulder problem which sidelined him for over six months.
Following the retirement of Noel Hickey at the weekend, Shefflin is the last remaining member of the 2000 All-Ireland winning team still involved with the county.