Sam Simmonds has rocked Exeter and England after being ruled out for six months because of an anterior cruciate ligament injury. The 23-year-old back-row was expecting to be out for some time having hurt his knee in last Saturday’s 28-11 Gallagher Premiership victory against Worcester Warriors.
However, the worst fears regarding the severity of his injury have now been confirmed and he will undergo reconstructive surgery before facing a long spell of rehabilitation.
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Director of rugby Rob Baxter said: “Sam Simmonds has ruptured his ACL. He’s going to go for a reconstruction, so that’s going to be six months onwards.”
Simmonds will miss England’s autumn internationals and the Six Nations early next year, but Baxter feels his absence could be a blessing in disguise looking further ahead to the 2019 World Cup in Japan at the end of the year.
He added: “Who knows what’s going to happen to the back-row resources between now and the World Cup? The other guys are going to be playing – they are the guys who are more likely to be picking up injuries than Sam.
“Also, he’s a young guy – a six-month break now at this time in his career, he’s got a really good break now. He’s got an opportunity of getting really mentally and physically fresh for what might be a fantastic two or three years for him after this injury.”
Meanwhile, Baxter also confirmed that Jonny Hill will be sidelined for up to 16 weeks by surgery for a finger ligament problem.