Brian O’Driscoll faces a six-month period on the sidelines as he will undergo surgery on his shoulder.
The Ireland and Leinster captain has struggled with neck and shoulder injuries for the past year and will go under the knife in order for a successful recovery. He is only expected to return to action in May.
This means O’Driscoll will miss Leinster’s domestic season and their European Cup title defence, and Ireland’s Six Nations campaign that kicks off in February. The 32-year-old has denied that this will lead to an early retirement, but he has hinted that he plans to stop playing after the British and Irish Lions tour to Australia in 2013.