Ospreys: Tom Smith set for lengthy lay-off after 'serious injury'
TOM Smith is set for another lengthy spell on the sidelines after the Ospreys announced that the flanker had suffered "a significant injury" in the Pro12 victory over Edinburgh at the Liberty Stadium.
The 27-year-old damaged his left knee while falling awkwardly in a tackle during the first half of his region's 44-10 success.
He needed to be stretchered off, and while the Ospreys are continuing to assess the injury, they issued a bulletin underlining the serious nature of the bump.
"Tom has sustained a significant injury," said Ospreys head physio Chris Towers.
"A number of investigations need to be carried out before we can ascertain the full extent of the injury and the best course of treatment for Tom."
The former Wales Under-21 captain has evidently displeased the rugby gods, having only just returned from a year out of the game through injury.
He battled back from his groin problem and had started the season well, leading the Ospreys in their first two matches and standing out with strong defensive shows.
He is viewed as an important member of the region's squad, not just because of his leadership skills but also because of his work ethic and commitment on and off the field.
Better news for the Ospreys is that Ryan Jones should be ready to resume this weekend.
They had been hoping he would have been recovered from his lower-leg injury for the game with Edinburgh, but the region's medical team erred on the side of caution.
However, the former Wales captain is in line to make the squad that travels to Connacht for the Pro12 clash on Saturday.
"Ryan will be available for the Connacht game," said assistant coach Gruff Rees.
"He will hopefully be someone who's desperate to play and will want to make an impact.
"We've rotated to a certain degree, but now we want to get to a point where players have a fighting chance of claiming the shirt for Europe."
Meantime, Ian Gough has signed for Aviva Premiership side London Irish after his departure from the Ospreys.
The second row will not be crossing swords with Wales prop Craig Mitchell for a while, though, with Exeter confirming that the prop would be out for an extended period with a pectoral-muscle injury.
"Mitch is looking pretty long term and is likely to require an operation," said Exeter coach Rob Baxter.