Leonard out for the year
July 2, 2008

All Black Brendon Leonard's rugby year is all-but over after being told his recovery from surgery will take up to five months.

Named last month in the first All Blacks squad of the year, an existing knee injury degenerated for the Chiefs and Waikato 23-year-old and his place was taken by Jimmy Cowan.

Arthroscopic surgery last week revealed more serious damage than first thought and last Tuesday he underwent an operation to have cartilage inside his right knee joint reattached to the bone.

"So it's six weeks on crutches and go from there but it's going to be a lot longer process than first thought and I have to give the bone bruising time to heal as well. I think it's four or five months' recovery time all up," Leonard told The Waikato Times.

The nine-test World Cup halfback was recuperating at his parents' farm in Okoroire, near Tirau, and was consigned to missing the All Blacks' year-ending tour.

"It was going to be a big year for myself and unfortunately it hasn't quite gone the way I would have liked but there's always a chance in the future. I'm only 23 this year and I've just got to ride this out and come back next year."

His knee was first injured during a Super 14 game against the ACT Brumbies in Canberra.

It was followed by six weeks of rest and a return for the final-round match against the Sharks but the injury was either aggravated there or in the early training sessions with the All Blacks a month ago.

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