British & Irish Lions: Jamie Heaslip & Rob Kearney suffer injury setbacks

Jamie Heaslip and Rob Kearney
Jamie Heaslip and Rob Kearney were on the last two Lions tours

Ireland's Jamie Heaslip and Rob Kearney have had their hopes of British and Irish Lions selection placed in doubt after having minor surgery.

Number eight Heaslip has had a back procedure, while full-back Kearney has had an operation on a knee injury.

Neither player was able to take part in the final match of the Six Nations against England on Saturday and face several weeks out of action.

Their club Leinster said it was hard to be specific about timelines.

"Jamie just had a procedure done on his back. He had disc issues. Obviously they come on quite quickly," head coach Leo Cullen said.

"It rules him out of the next number of weeks. When we get a report we will find out how long that will be. It sounds like they are reasonably standard procedures.

"Rob had an issue with his knee. It happened early during training in the week of the England game.

"He had a procedure done during the week after seeing a specialist on Tuesday. That's probably four to six weeks. We'll see how he comes through that."

Both players have been involved in the past two Lions tours but face contrasting prospects of travelling to New Zealand this summer.

Back row Heaslip could be squeezed out of contention by Billy Vunipola and Toby Faletau, but Kearney looks to have a good chance of being picked as one of the full-backs when the squad is named on 19 April.

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