Rob Kearney speaks frankly about his injury struggles 3 years ago

Rob Kearney speaks frankly about his injury struggles

How did it come to this? How did I get back here? When will I be back?

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These are some of the questions going through the mind of an injured player as they try to get their head around their latest setback.

The physios and medical professionals have offered a ballpark figure of when the player can hope to return. If the player hears '6 to 8 weeks', they'll think '5'. Some will convince themselves that they will break all medical conventions and get back in three. They're the special cases.

For Rob Kearney, a man who has battled arm and hamstring injuries over the past few years, he is refusing to circle any dates on a calendar. He has a simple desire - to figure out, once and for all, just what is causing his hamstring strains and tears.

Kearney spoke frankly about his latest spell on the sidelines and his description of how an injured player is often dealt with sounds like no fun at all. [From 49:10 below] He told The Hard Yards:

"You don't beat around the bush - getting an injury is never really a positive. The only positive I could take from it is that I've dealt with enough of them over the past two years and I've still been able to hold onto the national jersey and the provincial jersey when I was fit. 

"It is difficult but I'm in the position that I am in now and I just have to get back as soon as I can and find some form."

John Terry recently revealed that Jose Mourinho, when he was Chelsea boss, would routinely ignore injured players in his squad and would not speak to them until they returned to full fitness.

Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster are slightly warmer than that but Kearney understands that he has to be the one driving and motivating himself to get back playing. He said:

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"It's tough because you've got such a big environment there. Including the academy, you've got about 60 players and only a certain amount of coaches and strength and conditioning staff. People do get... not selfish at all but when a player is injured you're cast away into the rehab group. You just stay there and work away.

"The mental challenges are with yourself, really. You don't have anyone to pick you up and get you going. The first week, 10 days after an injury are really tough, mentally.

"Then, I suppose, you pick yourself up, find your feet and get going again."

Kearney has frequented Sports Surgery Clinic out in Santry for too much for his liking over the past two years and he will be out there again in the coming weeks, as well as his rehab work at Leinster Rugby. Another round of interesting Guinness PRO14 fixtures will come and go without him.

Ireland versus South Africa is on November 10 at the Aviva Stadium. Seven weeks away.

Kearney says he is not circling any dates on his calendar but that game won't be far from his mind as another comeback gathers momentum.