Mike Phillips says that he ‘can’t wait to get the shirt on again’ after it was confirmed that he is in line for a long awaited return to action when the Ospreys entertain Connacht at the Liberty Stadium later this month.
The British & Irish Lion has been sidelined since mid-October after he suffered damage to the posterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments during the Heineken Cup win over Clermont Auvergne. He was ruled out for a period of four months after undergoing surgery the same week, but now he is set to pull on an Ospreys shirt again next weekend (Sunday 21st February, KO 5pm), almost four months to the day after he suffered his injuries.
Ospreys Physio, Chris Towers, confirmed:
"Mike is now making the transition back to full training, and the hope is that he is set to be available for some game time during the Connacht fixture, with a view to gradually building on that over the following weeks."
For scrum-half Phillips it has been a frustrating time as he had been in a fine vein of form after returning to the Ospreys following his eye-catching performances for the Lions in South Africa over the summer, but he says that his focus now is simply on getting back up to full fitness over the coming weeks for the all important final phase of the season with the Ospreys still well in contention in both the Heineken Cup and the Magners League. He said:
"I can’t wait! It’s been a frustrating time as it always is when you’re injured. I’ve just been working hard with the medical team over the last few months so that I can get back onto the field for the Ospreys and I’m near the end now, we’re almost at the stage when I can get out there playing again. It’s what I love doing more than anything, playing rugby, and I just can’t wait to get the shirt on again.
"The boys have done really well while I’ve been out, they’ve got to the quarter-final stage of the Heineken Cup and are in the running for the Magners League play-offs so it’s a good position to be in and a good time to be playing again. There’s been a huge effort from the squad and I’m just glad that I’m going to be a part of that again. I’ve got two months to go until the Biarritz game to get right up to speed as that’s a game that I really want to be involved in and I know that I’ll need to be fit and in form to be considered for that one.
"It’s great being back around the boys, being on the training field again and sharing in the banter. It’s horrible being out, you tend to be away from the main group of boys, working with the long term injured, so taking a part in training again and being part of that atmosphere does give you a big boost. I’ll step up my work with them over the next few weeks, with the Connacht game being the main focus for me as it will allow me to take the next step in terms of my come back."