St George Illawarra Dragons second-rower Tyson Frizell has been ruled of the NRL World All-Stars squad as a result of undergoing back surgery during the holiday break period.
The Wales international underwent the operation to correct a lumbar disk bulge after consultation with a surgeon prior to Christmas and has since commenced his rehabilitation this week.
The NSW Country Origin representative is presently responding well to his light duties program but will not be able to commence any skills or contact training for at least twelve weeks.
Dragons Head of Medical and Performance Tony Ayoub admits this projection may mean the local Corrimal Cougars junior additionally misses out on the opening round fixture against the Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park, Melbourne on Monday, March 7.
“Unfortunately, Tyson has suffered a few issues with his lumbar disk bulge prior to the Christmas break which had previously sidelined him during stages of the 2015 season,” said Ayoub.
“We thought it would remain an ongoing issue throughout this year based on that fact so we sought out the opinion of a surgeon who agreed with his.
“Luckily we did do the surgery as they found three fragments from a disk in his spine which had to come out and has had instant relief because of it.
“Tyson has had over two weeks off to recover since the surgery and has showed great range during his exercises in the pool and no symptoms shown.
“We’re hoping that over the next four-to-six weeks he will continue to improve but as far as skills and contact sessions are concerned, it is probably twelve weeks before he is ready.
“He will most probably be right for either Round 2 or Round 3.
"Having said that though, you just need to look at the way Josh Dugan has come along with his neck surgery and see that he was training after seven weeks.
“Josh has just completed his first contact session this week and has had no issues since.
“Given the level of professionalism that both those guys show in their training, alongside how often our physiotherapists get their hands on them, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we might be able to cut that projected time frame short with Tyson.”
Frizell will miss not only the inaugural NRL World All-Stars fixture (Saturday, February 13) but so too the annual NRL Nines tournament (Saturday, February 6-Sunday, February 7) as well as up to two additional pre-season fixtures against both the New Zealand Warriors (Saturday, February 20) and Central Queensland Capras (Saturday, February 27) respectively.
Despite this, the international is focused on his imminent rehabilitation and returning to the field to represent the Club.
“I am obviously disappointed about the surgery but it needed to be done now to benefit me in the long term," said Frizell.
“My main focus now is doing whatever is required of me to help get my body right and back to full strength so that I can represent the Club on the field this season.”