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Carey sees light at end of tunnel

By Ciaran Donaaghy

Jarleth Carey has endured a frustrating start to his Ulster career.

The former Belfast Harlequins prop left Rotherham in the close season to come to Ravenhill but he has been sidelined with a back injury.

Carey captained Quins in the All-Ireland League final against Shannon and was hoping to cement a place in the Ulster front row, but now he is fighting to get fit.

"I have a collapsed disc in the base of my back, it happened on the pre-season trip to Portugal," he revealed.

"I'd played 35 minutes against Leeds the previous Friday and didn't feel anything but on the Monday I was doing squats in the gym and it just went.

With Simon Best and Bryan Young both at the World Cup, Carey had the chance to establish himself, but he had to withdraw from the second pre-season friendly with Gloucester.

"I was hoping to get some game time and played against Leeds," he said.

"It was a difficult game to get into as it was quite fast and there was only one scrum during the 35 minutes I was on the pitch which didn't help my cause.

"It was great to make my Ulster debut and get a win and I was hoping to get more time in the Gloucester game."

The road to recovery has been a long one for Carey but there is light at the end of the tunnel and he is hoping to be back on the pitch within the next few weeks.

"I've seen a couple of specialists and the good news is I don't need surgery," he added.

"I've had an injection in it and it feels better but it is pressing into the nerves in my leg and I'm unable to run as there is no power there.

"I've talked with our physio Gareth Robinson and he said I may be able to get some game time around November 17 but I'm taking each day as it comes.

"I'm trying to get back to running and I'm just setting myself small targets.

"Last Friday was the hardest game to watch as it was a derby and there was a big crowd and it's going to get tougher with the start of the Heineken Cup."

While it's been hard for Carey, especially with the poor start Ulster have made in the Magners League, he can still look on the bright side.

"I was in the gym with Neil Hanna and Matt Miles who are also injured and we're joking that Ulster won't be shopping in Division One again," laughed Carey.

Carey is confident that despite one win from their opening five games Ulster can turn the corner, starting with the away game at Glasgow on Friday night.

"We're disappointed but everybody is working very hard and there is a good buzz around the squad.

"It's a tight knit (squad) and we are determined to put things right," added the prop.

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