Wales dealt Phillips injury blow
October 20, 2009
Mike Phillips has been ruled out with an ankle injury © Getty Images
Phillips picked up the injury in the Ospreys' Heineken Cup win over Clermont Auvergne at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday and will miss his second consecutive autumn campaign.
Having played all three of the British & Irish Lions' Tests against South Africa in the summer Phillips would have been a key part of Gatland's plans for Tests against New Zealand, Samoa, Argentina and Australia and was also pencilled in to make his Barbarians debut against New Zealand on December 5.
The injury opens the door to Sale's Dwayne Peel and Cardiff Blues' Gareth Cooper, who deputised for Phillips during last season's autumn campaign. Fringe options include Scarlets' Martin Roberts and Wasps' Warren Fury.
Wales are already nursing a number of injured players, with fullback Lee Byrne, openside Martyn Williams, lock Ian Evans and props John Yapp and Rhys Thomas currently all sidelined.
"Mike had a scan yesterday, which was then reviewed with the specialist, who confirmed ligament damage to the distal tib/fib joint," said Ospreys physio Chris Towers. "Mike will now be subjected to further specialist tests and investigations towards the end of the week once the pain and swelling has subsided sufficiently to allow it.
"This will put us in a better position to confirm the best course of treatment going forward, but it is fair to say that Mike has suffered considerable ligament damage, and the best-case scenario would probably see him sidelined in the region of 10/12 weeks."
In further bad news for the Ospreys, Phillips' back-up on Sunday, Kiwi Jamie Nutbrown, has also been ruled out with an ankle injury. This development could see wing Shane Williams wear No.9 for this weekend's Magners League derby against Cardiff Blues.