Super Rugby
Elsom comeback remains distant
ESPNscrum Staff
February 28, 2011
The Brumbies' Rocky Elsom fends off the Lions defence, Brumbies v Lions, Super 14, Canberra Stadium, Canberra, Australia, March 5, 2010
Rocky Elsom is still some time away from a comeback © Getty Images

The Brumbies are facing up to the prospect of being without talismanic flanker Rocky Elsom until late April as the Wallabies skipper continues to battle a troublesome hamstring injury.

The 28-year-old blindside is yet to lace up his boots this year due to the tendon problem, with Brumbies physio Tim McGrath speculating that he may be fit to return for the franchise's South African tour, which begins against the Cheetahs on April 29.

"At the moment we're confident that Rocky can continue the progress he's made in recent weeks. If that's the case, he will be available for the Brumbies this season," McGrath told AAP.

"Rocky has specific goals he needs to achieve along the way in his rehabilitation in order to be considered ready to return to team training and playing. Each rehabilitation stage is based on successful completion of the previous phase, so based on this we'll be able to reassess our time frames as we go."

Another looming concern for the former Waratahs and Leinster back-row is the Rugby World Cup although McGrath has dismissed suggestions that Elsom is being protected prior to the showpiece in New Zealand.

"We're looking at getting Rocky back on the field when he can tolerate a training load and play week in and week out without re-exacerbating his injury," he said. "At the moment he's not there yet. Although it obviously is a World Cup year, both Rocky and the Brumbies aren't approaching his rehabilitation any differently to the other injured players we have at the moment."

Meanwhile, Bulls utility back Francois Hougaard has been ruled out for at least another week as he continues his recovery from a stress fracture. The Springbok is yet to feature this season and has been told to sit out the meeting with the Highlanders in Pretoria on Saturday.

"I am disappointed, but it is better to take the conservative route," he said."We have a bye next week, which means that I will be able to concentrate on making my comeback against the Stormers in two weeks' time. That is something to look forward to."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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