Brian O'Driscoll last night insisted he had a “pretty realistic” chance of returning to rugby.
Fears regarding the future of the Ireland captain's playing career grew yesterday after it was revealed that he will have an operation on a trapped nerve in his shoulder carried out by surgeon Ashley Poynton in Dublin next week.
However, while O'Driscoll may not feature again for Leinster this season, he's confident he will return to the sport.
“(The surgeon) has given me a likelihood, percentage wise, of what my chances are of getting back,” said O'Driscoll, who will turn 33 in January.
“It's pretty realistic and a lot of it is about whether you are asymptomatic when you do eventually come back and do all the rehab and then get into the collision side of things.
“I do have the rest of my life to think about as well and if there was any chance of playing through discomfort again then probably the smart move would be to call it a day, but that's thinking very far ahead and we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
“As far as I'm concerned, there's huge positivity to be taken from the results that have been seen on this injury before and I've seen plenty of guys come back from it so there's no reason why not.”
O'Driscoll revealed that he has struggled with the injury since this year's Six Nations and accepted the surgery was inevitable.
“Post-World Cup I saw a few specialists and they were all saying the same thing. Probably last week or maybe before that I realised (the surgery) was going to happen. It was just a case of which surgery more than when.
“There have been different specialists looking at different scans and we have been getting as many opinions as possible and sometimes it's a relief when they are all saying the same thing. I needed it for quality of life post rugby and that makes it a bit easier to get the surgery as well.”
O'Driscoll refused to set a date for his comeback but his contract runs until the end of the 2013 season which means he could feature in next summer's three-game |tour of New Zealand.