Ireland and Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris has suffered a setback in his recovery from an ankle problem and could now miss this summer’s British and Irish Lions tour to Australia.
The 27-year-old underwent surgery in December after he sustained tendon damage to his ankle during Ulster’s RaboDirect PRO12 match against Edinburgh on 2 November.
Ferris had expected to be back in contention next month, but Ulster yesterday confirmed his comeback has been delayed after his recovery was reviewed earlier this week.
A statement on the club’s official website said: “It was discovered that, although Stephen has made excellent progress in his recovery, some minor issues remain. As a result, the specialist medical staff treating Stephen are considering several options to ensure that he makes a full and complete return. A decision on a course of action will be made in the coming weeks.”
Ferris missed Ireland’s autumn international campaign due to the injury and has been ruled out of the RBS Six Nations.
It now looks likely he will be unavailable for Ulster’s Heineken Cup quarter-final against Saracens at Twickenham on 6 April, with his place on the Lions tour also in doubt.
Ferris missed the entire Six Nations tournament in 2011 through injury and saw his 2009 Lions tour of South Africa cut short due to a knee problem.