Second row Iain Henderson is facing a race against time to be fit for the remaining Ireland games in the 2020 Guinness Six Nations. The 2017 Lions tourist has undergone hip surgery and is now a doubt for the respective October 24 and October 31 matches versus Italy and France. 

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A medical bulletin issued by Ulster on Tuesday read: “Iain Henderson recently underwent hip surgery and is expected to be unavailable for a period of 8-10 weeks – with an estimated return date of mid-late October.”

Capped 55 times, the 28-year-old started in this year’s championship wins over Scotland and Wales but missed the late February defeat to England due to the birth of his son.  

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The concern over Henderson – who will now miss Ulster’s Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final at Toulouse – is the latest second row worry in recent weeks for Ireland coach Andy Farrell as it had initially been reported that James Ryan was also a doubt for the Six Nations restart. 

However, it later emerged that the Leinster lock was much further down the road to recovery and could even make it back in time for his province’s Champions Cup quarter-final versus Saracens on September 19.

Aside from revealing the Henderson situation, Ulster provided an update on multiple other players as the countdown continues towards their August 23 restart match versus Connacht at the Aviva Stadium.  

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“Angus Curtis continues to rehabilitate a multi-ligament knee injury. Andrew Warwick is due to undergo hip surgery next week. Will Addison is rehabilitating a back injury.

“Greg Jones (ankle), Matthew Rea (ankle), Sam Carter (shoulder) and Matt Faddes (shoulder) are now integrating back into training, following respective surgeries and are projected to be fit for selection on 23 August.”

Ulster will pick up their Guinness PRO14 campaign lying in second place behind Leinster in Conference A. Nine points ahead of third-place Glasgow, they are expected to clinch a spot in September’s semi-finals.  

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