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Cardiff Blues have been dealt a huge blow as British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton is facing up to four months on sidelines after tearing a hamstring.
Warburton was forced to sit out the Lions’ series-clinching win over Australia in Sydney after sustaining the injury towards the end of the second Test defeat in Melbourne.
It was feared that Warburton would be facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines and the Blues have now confirmed their worst fears and say it will be October at the earliest before he returns.
Blues medical chief John Miles said: “Sam suffered a grade-three tear to his left hamstring in the second Lions test against Australia on the 29th of June.
“He has had a scan with specialists in London yesterday which has shown the injury is already healing. He therefore does not need surgery but will require a period of rehabilitation between 12 to 16 weeks from the date of the injury.
“His rehabilitation will focus on range of motion, flexibility and specific strengthening of the hamstring in order for him to return to full health.”
The 24-year-old will now be forced to miss the Blues’ opening run of RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures and there is a good chance he will also sit out their opening two Heineken Cup pool fixtures.
The injury is also a big concern for Wales and they will be hoping he can return in 12 weeks instead of 16 which would mean he would be available for the clashes against South Africa, Argentina, Tonga and Australia in November.