DAN Lydiate could be back in action for the closing stages of Wales’ Six Nations, Newport Gwent Dragons head coach Darren Edwards has revealed.
The prognosis on one of the world’s leading blindside flankers is encouraging after the 24-year-old underwent surgery for a broken bone above his left ankle.
Lydiate was said to be “distraught” after his injury in the second minute of the Dragons’ 32-12 home win over Edinburgh on Friday. It looked to have put an end to his Lions dreams in Australia next summer.
But the key member of Wales’ 2012 Grand Slam-winning team could well be back in action by the end of February.
The national side travel to play Italy in Rome on February 23 before playing Scotland away on March 9 and then England at home in their final Six Nations clash on March 16.
Lydiate is being backed by his regional coach to make a full recovery, possibly by the end of February.
If things go according to plan and the 27-times capped back rower can force himself back into the Wales team, it gives him a real fighting chance of making the Lions squad for their three-match Test series against the Wallabies in June.
Edwards said things are looking a lot brighter for last season’s Six Nations player of the tournament after surgery on Sunday.
“Always when things first happen there’s a shock element, but now he’s had his surgery, there’s more positive news,” Edwards said.
“The length of time (he will be out) with his injury could be shorter than first expected.
“We’re looking at (him being back) somewhere around the end of February, early March, but it will depend on how well his rehabilitation goes.”
Edwards added: “His leg got jammed in a tackle and it snapped, he fractured his fibia just above his ankle.
“The good news is that none of his ligaments were torn – that would have been a problem. It could have been a lot worse.”
Lydiate has been plagued by serious injuries throughout his career, breaking his neck when the Dragons played Perpignan away in the Heineken Cup five years ago.
He has also been blighted by a troublesome left ankle, most recently during last autumn’s World Cup campaign and when he was forced to miss Wales’ victory over Ireland in Dublin on the first leg of their recent Grand Slam campaign.
Edwards said Lydiate has bounced back before and can do it again: “Danny’s in better spirits now – he was distraught when it first happened.
“He can see there is a way out of this. He’s defied a lot of serious injuries. There’s no doubt about his mental attitude and professionalism.
“He demonstrated that again in the World Cup by just getting himself ready for games. We are confident he can make a full recovery.
“The initial timescale (for his comeback) of the end of March I think are well within Danny’s capabilities.
“The decision will be made on the plate (which has been inserted in his leg), whether it’s left in or out. If it’s left in, it could even be sooner.”
- The Dragons’ new openside signing Nic Cudd is set to make his debut in Friday’s away league clash with the Scarlets.
However, fellow back rower Morgan Stoddart is expected to miss the rest of the season after he suffered what the region call a “catastrophic knee injury” during Newport’s 38-19 away defeat at Llandovery last Saturday.