Ashley-Cooper says he is nearing his return

Wallabies vice-captain Adam Ashley-Cooper says that he is nearing his return to playing Super Rugby but he does not want to risk it ahead of the Rugby World Cup later this year.

The Waratahs have a bye this week and Ashley-Cooper has all but ruled himself out of the Sydney side’s match against the Stormers in Round 9.

Ashley-Cooper played for the Waratahs in round two against the Rebels but suffered a rare tendon injury behind his right knee that has perplexed doctors.

The Wallabies international has already missed a month of Super Rugby and he says there are no guarantees that the tendon won’t “completely snap” when he returns to rugby.

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika had hoped that Ashley-Cooper would be back to the Stormers match but the 104-Test stalwart is not so sure.

“Our (Waratahs) doctor – Dr Sharon Flahive, who has been working for 26 years in sports medicine, hasn’t seen this before, any case like it,” Ashley-Cooper told AAP.

“We contacted the Swans doctor, who’d only had one case in his 35 years.

“So because it’s so very uncommon, so rare, it’s hard to put a time frame on the actual recovery period.

“It’s basically day-to-day and how it responds to rehab.”

“So at the moment I’m confident with how I’m progressing and I’m hopeful for another three weeks (out).”

Initially the Waratahs and Ashley-Cooper though that he had strained a calf muscle against the Rebels but then doctors diagnosed the injury as Baker’s cyst.

“Which wasn’t exactly true,” Ashley-Cooper said.

“So I’d gone back to training and I’d gone to jump up for a ball and tore the semitendinosus, which is the hamstring tendon that attaches at the front of the shin bone.

“I’m confident that it won’t linger and it’ll get better, but I saw a specialist who said it was hard to say whether it was going to completely hold or completely snap.”

“Time will tell.”

The backline ace said the uncertain nature of the recovery process was making life “tricky”.

“I want to be playing,” he said.

“The pressure to return to playing is always there. The guys are playing well and I want to be a part of that.

“But I think I’ve got to be smart in regards to making the right decision for myself, the team and obviously the end-of-year goal, which is the World Cup.

“I’m back running, which is good news. I’m just hopeful that 90 to 100 per cent won’t be too long (away).”

The Waratahs play the Stormers in Round 9 and then they head to Wellington to face the Hurricanes.

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