Wallabies vice-captain Adam Ashley-Cooper admits he’s received no guarantees that a tendon behind his right knee won’t “completely snap” when he returns to rugby.
Ashley-Cooper on Wednesday all but ruled himself out of the NSW Waratahs’ round-nine clash with the Stormers as he continues his recovery from a rare injury that has perplexed doctors.
The 104-Test stalwart has already been sidelined for a month, but Waratahs and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika had been confident he’d return after this weekend’s bye.
But speaking for the first time since breaking down against the Melbourne Rebels in round two, Ashley-Cooper said he needed to take a cautious approach in this all-important World Cup year.
“Our (Waratahs) doctor – Dr Sharon Flahive, who has been working for 26 years in sports medicine, hasn’t seen this before, any case like it,” he said.
“We contacted the Swans doctor, who’d only had one case in his 35 years.
“So because it’s so very uncommon, so rare, it’s hard to put a time frame on the actual recovery period.
“It’s basically day-to-day and how it responds to rehab.
“So at the moment I’m confident with how I’m progressing and I’m hopeful for another three weeks (out).”
After initially thinking he’d strained a calf muscle against the Rebels, doctors later diagnosed the injury as Baker’s cyst.
“Which wasn’t exactly true,” Ashley-Cooper said.
“So I’d gone back to training and I’d gone to jump up for a ball and tore the semitendinosus, which is the hamstring tendon that attaches at the front of the shin bone.
“I’m confident that it won’t linger and it’ll get better, but I saw a specialist who said it was hard to say whether it was going to completely hold or completely snap.
“Time will tell.”
The backline ace said the uncertain nature of the recovery process was making life “tricky”.
“I want to be playing,” he said.
“The pressure to return to playing is always there. The guys are playing well and I want to be a part of that.
“But I think I’ve got to be smart in regards to making the right decision for myself, the team and obviously the end-of-year goal, which is the World Cup.
“I’m back running, which is good news. I’m just hopeful that 90 to 100 per cent won’t be too long (away).”