Wales
Ken Owens upbeat after second neck operation
ESPN Staff
October 7, 2014
Wales hooker Ken Owens before the match against Italy, Wales v Italy, Six Nations, Millenium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, March 10, 2012
© PA Photos
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Wales hooker Ken Owens hopes to turn his recovery from a "freak" neck injury into the start of his long quest for Rugby World Cup 2015 selection.

Owens is out of action for 12 weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a prolapsed disc in his neck, an injury he picked up in training in late September. It is the second operation he has had on his neck following one in 2011.

"It was obviously frustrating but injuries are part and parcel of rugby," he said. "It was just a freak injury towards the end of a scrummaging session in training to be honest. I've had it now: maybe that's one way to look at it.

"So I can get good rest, good rehab and conditioning, then the boys, some of the players will have a big couple of months of rugby leading into the Six Nations and what have you, while I'll hopefully be fresh. But you can never predict these things.

"In the last World Cup year, I had my neck operation in the January and thought I wouldn't be able to get back in contention for the World Cup. But then some of the other boys started picking up injuries towards the end of the season and I ended up going to the World Cup. Things happen for a reason but you've got to look after your own health and well-being as well.

"Thankfully it is only just a 12-week injury, so hopefully I'll have chance to get back and try to get a bit of form to prove to the international selectors I deserve a spot. It's just part and parcel of rugby, you've just got to make sure your body's right and healthy, then look at the rest of it after that."

He said he did not think there were more injuries in the modern game, just greater coverage when they happen. "Rugby's more scrutinised now, there's more media interest, right across the board it's highlighted more. I wouldn't say there are any more injuries now than when I first started: you just hear about them.

"When one or two players pick up several injuries on the bounce I think it makes things generally sound worse than they really are. But we play a contact sport with big athletes playing it, and inevitably there are going to be some injuries. Something's got to give at the end of the day - and it tends to be necks and shoulders."

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