MUNSTER FULLBACK FELIX Jones looks likely to return to full training next week as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery at the start of July.
The injury-prone 26-year-old met a specialist on Monday, where he was cleared to resume controlled contact this week. If Jones’ shoulder responds well to that first test, he will be back with the rest of the squad after the weekend.
The Dublin native has made 45 appearances for Munster since joining from Leinster in 2009, scoring six tries. With several options for Rob Penney in the back three this season, Jones will be eager to get back on the pitch as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, the prognosis for Tommy O’Donnell is not as positive. The Irish international came off injured during Munster’s 43-21 win over Zebre last weekend.
Having flown home early this week, while the rest of the squad stayed on in Italy for Friday’s game against Treviso, O’Donnell will see a knee specialist in the coming days.
The initial reports from Munster’s own medical team are pessimistic, with 10-12 weeks on the sidelines being predicted. That would be a cruel blow for the Tipperary man, who was Munster’s Player of the Year last season.
Ian Nagle joined O’Donnell in leaving Italy early after he strained tendons in his foot in the victory over Zebre. The 6ft 6ins lock is undergoing rehabilitation and could return to action in two weeks.
There is encouraging news for winger Andrew Conway too, as he has resumed light training this week. Munster’s new signing picked up a groin strain against Zebre, but is recovering well.
Rob Penney will announce his squad for the clash with Treviso tomorrow. The RaboDirect PRO12 round three tie takes place at the Stadio di Monigo on Friday evening at 7.30pm Irish time.