CARDIFF (Reuters) - British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton is targeting a return to action in the new year as he recovers from surgery on his neck following the mid-year tour to New Zealand.
"I had the operation six weeks ago now and it is a four-month return to play, which is January. The rehab is going smoothly so far, so all good," said the Welsh flanker, who has not played since the Lions tour.
"I've had no hiccups so far. It was quite a straightforward operation."
Warburton said his priority would be return to full fitness.
"This is an injury I've been battling for three to four years. Once it's sorted hopefully it will reduce the number of shoulder stingers and nerve problems I'm getting and I can play more frequently," the 29-year-old said.
"It is part of playing at seven. Seven and 12 are statistically the positions where you have the most contacts and most injuries. I quickly realised that - it is part of the nature of the position.
"You are a little bit down at the start for a week or two, but as soon as you are back in the gym and you can see yourself improving again, it is really exciting working back towards the goal of playing."
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly; firstname.lastname@example.org; +27828257807; Reuters Messaging: Reuters Messaging: email@example.com)