Wales skipper Ryan Jones is set to miss the opening month of the new Magners League season as the Ospreys launch the defence of their title.
Jones, who led the Welsh region to Grand Final glory against Leinster in Dublin in May, is still nursing an injury that he picked up while leading Wales in New Zealand during the summer.
“Ryan left the field injured in the second test and after undergoing a scan on his return from New Zealand, the injury was expected to settle without complication over the summer,” said Ospreys physio Chris Towers.
“However, when he reported back to the Ospreys, our concerns regards the symptoms led us to refer him to a specialist who confirmed that the injury was of greater significance than originally thought, and that the reason he wasn’t recovering as expected was due to bone bruising associated with the trauma in New Zealand.
“He has responded well to treatment since then and, symptomatically, his condition is much better. It’s difficult to say categorically when he’ll be available, but if his improvement continues as it has been then we will hopefully see him up and running again within the next three to four weeks.”
The Ospreys are also having to closely monitor the fitness of Wales and British & Irish Lions scrum half Mike Phillips after he suffered knee damage on tour.
“In Mike’s case, he developed swelling on the knee in training ahead of the first test in New Zealand. While the problem didn’t prevent him from playing in both tests, his ability to train fully on tour was restricted,” added Towers.
“After the tour he was allowed to go on leave without further investigation, only for the condition to flare up again when he reported back for WRU testing at the start of August. On his return to the Ospreys we had his condition evaluated more closely, and there was evidence of some wear and tear on the knee that accounted for the swelling.
“He’s been looked at by specialists in south Wales and London, and they are happy that the knee can be carefully managed and, while he will follow a restricted training programme, he will be available for selection once his pre-season is complete.”