Ferris out for the season as he has second op
Stephen Ferris' Lions aspirations appear to be well and truly over after he was ruled out for another three months following a second operation on his injured ankle.
The Ulster and Ireland flanker suffered the injury on provincial duty in November, but it had been hoped that he might return to play at some point this month.
However, the 27-year-old has had to undergo another procedure to clean out bone fragments and will be absent until late May or early June, just as the Lions embark on their tour of Australia.
An Ulster statement read: "Stephen Ferris, was reviewed last week as part of his ongoing rehabilitation from an ankle injury that he sustained in November.
"At that review, it was discovered that although he had made excellent progress, some minor issues still remained. Those issues included function at the ankle continuing to cause pain.
"Having considered all specialist medical opinions given, Stephen underwent successful ankle surgery in Belfast (on Wednesday), during which fragments of bone were removed.
"Stephen will be out of rugby for a further three months but following this period is expected to make a full and complete return to the game."
Meanwhile, one man who is feeling the benefit of Ulster's crippling injury list is Mike McComish as the 29-year-old has found himself getting more opportunties in a back row missing Chris Henry, Roger Wilson, Nick Williams and, of course, Ferris.
He knows the door is opened again but the Ulsterman who has spent time playing with Connacht, Rotherham and Otley has far too many miles on the clock to publically admit that this is a golden opportunity for him to use this game-time to make a statement.
"At the end of the day it's a squad game and if you are given that chance to start then you've got to take it," is how McComish, who plays at openside flanker tonight, puts the situation.
He knows that even a weakened Treviso are no easy team to put away and indeed he played back in November when Ulster just about got the result over there and, in fact, was also involved the last time the Italians came to Ravenhill when they surprisingly triumphed in the World Cup window of October 2011.
Even though Treviso will be buoyed by last Sunday's thumping of Munster, they will have had to deal with the quick turnaround between games and McComish reckons that if Ulster can now bring greater accuracy and consistency to their game then they will do damage and get the all-important result.
"I think over the last couple of weeks we've created a lot of opportunities and for whatever reasons we haven't taken those chances so we've just got to be clinical.
"We've got to get that clinical mentality going and certainly towards the end of the season you really need that," he says.