Karl Lacey has written off his chances of lining out for Donegal in their Ulster championship semi-final meeting with Down on Sunday week.
The GAA/GPA footballer of the year missed the entire Allianz League having undergone hip surgery in December but made a substitute appearance for the All-Ireland champions as they got their defence of the Ulster championship underway with a 2-10 to 0-10 victory against Tyrone.
However, the 28-year-old was forced into undertaking keyhole surgery on a knee last Friday week following an injury he picked up whilst playing for his club, Four Masters of Donegal Town, against Ardara in the Raidió Na Gaeltachta SFC earlier this month.
“I got my knee checked out last Friday having done a bit of damage in a club game the weekend beforehand,” Lacey said.
“Dr Ray Moran looked at me in Santry Sports Clinic and noticed there was a significant amount of damage so he got me in right away and got the surgery done. Unfortunately for me, it’ll keep me out for two or three weeks.
“I just think the Down game will come too soon for me. It was only a minor injury considering some of the serious ones you can get now with cruciates and what have you.
“Dr Ray Moran is one of the top men in Europe and we’re just fortunate to have access to some of the top medics here.
“I got hip surgery done there a couple of days before Christmas and it was more of a long-term injury. There was a 14-week recovery period and it’s something I’ve been told I’ll have to monitor on a weekly basis and something that mightn’t go away.”
Lacey’s absence again Down at Breffni Park will mean Donegal will be without his services for the first time since the 2004 Ulster semi-final win over Tyrone.
Jim McGuinness and assistant Rory Gallagher opted to keep Lacey in reserve against Tyrone but took him on 22 minutes from time. And although not fully fit, Lacey’s coolness in possession and clever usage of the ball helped Donegal to the six-point win with Ross Wherity’s goal proving the turning point.
“There was no better test when Jim gave me 20 minutes and mentally it was a good thing to get over that hurdle,” Lacey continued. “It took a bit of contact and felt good for a week or two after but unfortunately I picked up the knee injury.
“There was a lot of pressure on us against Tyrone as it was the game most talked about since the draw was made last October. It was a game Jim and Rory had spoken about a lot. The league campaign didn’t go too well but the players trained really hard and upped their game.
“We just want to put on the best performance we can and that’s the pressure Jim puts on us and that’s the pressure we put on ourselves.”