Cardiff, Wales (AP) — Wales flanker Sam Warburton, one of the favorites to be captain for the British and Irish Lions’ tour to New Zealand, has been ruled out for about six weeks because of a left knee injury.
Cardiff Blues coach Danny Wilson gave the injury prognosis on Tuesday after Warburton strained medial ligaments while playing for the Welsh province against Ulster on Friday.
If his recovery goes according to schedule, Warburton will have less than two weeks to recover his match fitness for the start of the Lions tour. The tourists’ first match is on June 3 against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians in Whangarei.
“He shouldn’t have any problem regarding the Lions,” Wilson said. “Knowing how diligent Sam will be, with all these things, you see players who get back quickly if they follow religiously the protocol and they get a bit of luck.
“I think it is relatively good news, considering how it could have been.”
Warburton is one of the standout options to captain the Lions, along with Wales teammate Alun Wyn Jones and Ireland hooker Rory Best.
Warburton captained the Lions for the 2013 tour to Australia.
The Lions squad will be announced on April 19, when the captain will also be named.