A number of Lions players required medical treatment following Saturday’s hard-fought first Test against South Africa in Durban, keeping team doctor James Robson and his staff very busy.
Speaking at the team hotel in Durban, Lions team doctor James Robson gave a review of the various injuries and ailments in the squad following the 26-21 defeat to South Africa.
“Tommy Bowe suffered a slight strain to his elbow in yesterday’s game but should be fit for selection for Tuesday if that’s the want of the coaches,” said Robson, a five-time Lions tourist.
“Lee Byrne strained his foot during the game. With it only 12 hours after coming off, we have only done our initial assessment and the aim at the moment is to get him to the point where he is fit for selection on Tuesday.
“It is probably a mild recurrence of a previous injury – plantafasciotous or inflammation or tearing of the structure that holds the arch of the foot principally – it is a very painful and often recurrent condition.
“But he has played well on this tour. It may have well been that he has pulled a few fibres but he is certainly walking around fine this morning.
“Tom Croft strained his calf during the game and a few hours later appeared to have a bit of a twisted knee but has improved massively over night.
“He has done a very good pool session with (our physio) Phil Pask this morning so looks to be well.
“Gethin Jenkins has a bit of a black eye this morning and has had four stitches to his eye for a cut, but otherwise he is well other than some battering and bruising.
“Adam Jones and Lee Mears likewise – bumps and bruises. Paul O’Connell did have some issue with a couple of teeth yesterday but is fine this morning.”
Centres Jamie Roberts and Brian O’Driscoll were arguably the Lions’ best combination and most potent force during the first Test, and both will be fighting fit for that must-win second Test.
O’Driscoll had to be tended to after colliding with Pierre Spies as he chased his own chip kick but the Irish captain has recovered well from the incident.
Robson added: “Jamie Roberts took a blow to the same shoulder as he did in one of the previous games but recovered within a couple of minutes and is fine.
“Brian O’Driscoll is fine. We took the usual protocol when a player goes down on the field but no loss of consciousness, no headache and no issues today at all.”
O’Driscoll’s Grand Slam-winning team-mate, Stephen Ferris, had his first Lions tour cruelly ended by a knee ligament tear almost two weeks ago.
Ferris has remained in South Africa with the squad and is working hard on his rehab and getting back to full fitness for pre-season work with Ulster.
“We’ve seen Stephen for an hour this morning and although he’s worked phenomenally well and made marked progress, he is still on the timeline for a return to rugby activities in two or three weeks which takes him past the end of our tour,” Robson explained.
Versatile Ospreys and Wales back James Hook, who sustained a head injury in last Tuesday’s win over the Southern Kings, looks like he may be fit to resume playing sooner rather than later.
“James Hook continues to make an excellent recovery from his head knock last week and he has been doing some further testing this morning.
“He’s now done various grades of activity with no ill effect, he’s done non-contact rugby activities with no ill effect and we have high hopes for him to be passed tomorrow.
“He is, of course, subject to an independent neurological assessment which takes the decision out of our hand as per IRB regulations.
‘The assessment takes place tomorrow ahead of selection for Tuesday and at each step he has progressed well.”
Meanwhile, the Lions management have called up Wasps and England prop Tim Payne to provide cover at loosehead, as there are some concerns over a back injury his England team-mate Andrew Sheridan picked up.
“Andrew Sheridan still has some back pain after the Southern Kings game but has done a good session this morning,” Robson concluded.