Wallaby Barnes eyes return from knee injury


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Wallaby inside back Berrick Barnes is on track to return from a knee injury for the Queensland Reds’ Super 14 rugby pre-season early next month, team coach Phil Mooney said Thursday.

Barnes is recovering from a posterior cruciate ligament injury that forced him out of the Wallaby tour of Europe last November.

Barnes, having spent time in a knee brace, is back running under the supervision of the Reds’ trainers and is making a steady recovery.

Mooney is planning on the young Wallaby back’s return in the February 5 trial against the Western Force in Brisbane, ahead of the Reds’ opening Super 14 match against South Africa’s Northern Bulls in Pretoria on February 14.

“The medical opinion is that his rehab is on track,” Mooney said in a statement Thursday.

“He’s run fairly well at training, so the indications are that he will probably be right for the last trial (Feb 5).”

Reds’ captain and Wallaby lock James Horwill has passed a vital stage of his recovery from a broken foot with the removal of orthopaedic screws, the statement said.

However Horwill, who missed last year’s European tour, faces time on the sidelines to allow the foot to mend sufficiently to support his huge frame and jumping in lineouts.

“That (his size) is one of the reasons they left the screws in a bit longer than usual (to help the bones knit),” Horwill said.

Horwill, one of the Wallabies’ best performers last year under coach Robbie Deans, hopes to be back playing by the halfway point of the Super 14 competition, around March.

“I’m still aiming for (a return to rugby) sometime in March but we definitely want to make sure the foot is right because these injuries can take a while to heal properly,” Horwill said.

“It feels really good at the moment but we’ll have to wait and see.”

Sapa-AFP –

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