Ireland and Munster fly-half Joey Carbery has been advised to delay his return to rugby and will be unavailable indefinitely due to a long-standing ankle problem.
Playmaker Carbery initially sustained the injury during his country’s World Cup warm-up game against Italy last August and underwent surgery earlier this year.
The 24-year-old has been instructed to continue his rehabilitation as Munster prepare to return to action on Saturday against Leinster in the Guinness Pro14.
A club statement read: “It has been confirmed that Joey Carbery will not be available for an indefinite period of time.
“Following his latest meeting with the specialist, the 24-year-old has been advised to take further steps in rehabilitating his ankle and to delay his return to rugby.”
Before lockdown, Carbery was also suffering with a wrist ligament injury picked up during his province’s PRO14 defeat by Ulster in January.
The New Zealand born player, who has 22 international caps, has not played since, including missing Ireland’s opening three Guinness Six Nations matches under new head coach Andy Farrell.
Munster head coach Johann Van Graan said: “As disappointing as the latest news is, we have Joey at the centre of it all, going through this, and doing everything right in making sure that when he returns to the pitch he stays on the pitch.
“David (Nucifora, Irish Rugby Football Union High Performance Director), Andy (Farrell) and I spoke with Joey last week and all want what’s best for him.
“We know his standing in the province and Irish rugby and how important he is to us all. Our priority is to look after him. He is a young man with huge sporting talent and a bright future, we are here to support Joey at every stage giving him the time he needs.”
Carbery’s ill-fated appearance against Ulster was only his fourth start for province or country since January 2019 after hamstring issues affected him last season.
He said: “Even though the ankle isn’t where it needs to be just yet, I’ve full confidence it will heal and be pain-free soon, and I will be back better than ever. I just need time right now.”