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Aviva Premiership
Wood injury keeps medics guessing
ESPN Staff
May 6, 2012
Northampton flanker Tom Wood, Northampton v Newcastle, Aviva Premiership, Franklin's Gardens, Northampton, England, October 30, 2010
Tom Wood has played just five games for Northampton this year © Getty Images
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England flanker Tom Wood has revealed that he may not make a full recovery from the toe injury that has blighted his season.

The 25-year-old was hotly-tipped for the England captaincy before suffering the injury in January and was subsequently ruled out of the Six Nations. He returned to domestic duty with Northampton Saints in March but his comeback only last five games before the injury to his left foot re-surfaced.

Wood has since ruled himself out of England's forthcoming tour of South Africa in favour of continuing his battle for full fitness but serious question marks remain about the nature of the injury and the best possible treatment.

"The doctors know what the problem is, they just don't know what to do to sort it out," Wood told the Rugby Paper. "The problem is there aren't any case studies of this so they can't look at what worked well in the past. I split a couple of small bones in my foot. There a lots of options, I can rest and hope it heals, they can try to join the bones, they could take them out altogether and either re-attach the ligaments or leave it. But no one really knows what the best option is."

Wood, who won the last of his nine Test caps at last year's Rugby World Cup, admitted to a frustrating few months on the sidelines but refuses to be too downcast. "When I was out in January I just rested but there is always the temptation to come back and I probably got a little carried away.

"It was frustrating because in training I felt like it was fine but when you go out and play, the impacts are very different and it started hurting again. I've got my foot in a cast and after that it's just a case of rest. I'm still training in the gym but there is no running at all. It's obviously not ideal but that's what I need to be doing at the moment."

Wood will just be a spectator for the Saints' push for Premiership glory and more importantly England's three-Test series with the Springboks but has been reassured that he remains in the international picture. "The timing is terrible," he added. "I've already missed the Six Nations and now to miss the end of the season with Northampton and the summer tour is really disappointing. But I've spoken to [England coaches] Graham Rowntree and Stuart Lancaster and they're looking at the long-term, 2015 is their goal"

Playing on with the injury remains a very likely option for Wood who has now set his sights on next season. "I can play in the condition I'm in," he said. "If someone told me that's the situation you'll be in, and you have to cope, I could. But it would have an impact on how far I could go. The reason I'm taking all this time is I know I can be a far better player. It wasn't really hurting at first but now it's quite painful."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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