Ospreys: Tom Smith to undergo surgery on 'complex' knee injury
TOM Smith faces an operation to correct the "complex multi-ligament injury" he suffered while playing for the Ospreys against Edinburgh last month.
The 27-year-old blindside damaged his left knee when he twisted awkwardly in a tackle.
He has since seen a specialist in London and now faces an effective knee reconstruction that will necessitate a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Ospreys head physio Chris Towers said: "Tom suffered a complex multi-ligament injury to his knee that will ultimately require surgery to repair the damage, which will take place over the next two weeks.
"The surgery will then be followed by a lengthy recovery and rehabilitation process."
Patience will clearly have to be the watchword for the former Wales Under-21s captain, who had only just returned to rugby after a season out with a groin problem.
He had started the campaign in form, skippering the Ospreys and producing big displays against Treviso and Leinster, performances that earned him rich praise from his regional coaches.
But his comeback ran into trouble just before half-time against Edinburgh when he was the subject of a double hit, with prop Alasdair Dickinson connecting around the legs and hooker Aleki Lutui coming in with a short arm shot for which he was later cited and banned.
Smith now faces a major battle to resume his career.
But in coming back from serious injuries before, the former Neath player has shown he is a fighter who doesn't understand the concept of defeat.
The Ospreys will hope to offer their stricken flanker a dot of cheer by seeing off Ulster in the big Pro12 clash at the Liberty Stadium tomorrow evening.
Ulster have returned to form and gave themselves a further boost yesterday by nailing down arguably the best ball-carrier in the Pro12 on a new contract, with Nick Williams penning a two-year deal.