Ryan Jones hoping to stake Lions claim by returning for Ospreys play-off push
RYAN Jones should be able to put his shoulder to the wheel again for the Ospreys before the end of the season — news that will aid his chances of touring with the Lions this summer.
The 32-year-old back rower had his Six Nations abruptly curtailed by injury against Scotland at Murrayfield on March 9.
And now his region have moved to declare that he is on course for a return ahead of the Lions' departure date at the end of May.
The Lions are scheduled to announce their squad for the trip to Australia on April 30, so it could be that Jones will not have opportunities to impress Warren Gatland before then.
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But the New Zealander knows what his former captain can do, and is likely to be encouraged by the Ospreys' upbeat bulletin on the shoulder injury Jones suffered against the Scots.
"Further investigation has confirmed that a fracture to the shoulder blade is stable and it is just a case of waiting for it to heal," said Ospreys head physio Chris Towers.
"Providing there are no problems, he has a realistic chance of being back playing before the end of the season."
The regular season ends in the Pro12 on May 3 but if the Ospreys qualify for the knock-stages their campaign could be extended all the way through to May 25.
Jones, meantime, took some ribbing off the Wales players after receiving the Six Nations trophy while injured last week. "He had a bit of flak for being like John Terry after Chelsea's Champions League win over Bayern Munich last season," reported Adam Jones. "Terry had some stick for picking up the trophy while he was suspended, so the boys wound Ryan up, too. Seriously, though, he did brilliantly as captain."
The Ospreys will decide on a course of treatment for Eli Walker after consultation with medics over the back injury the wing picked up while on Wales duty during the Six Nations.
But Andrew Bishop (disc problem in the back) and Joe Rees (knee) are expected back before the end of the campaign.