LUCKY IT WASN'T WORSE.
TOMMY BOWE claims he is lucky to be out for only four months - after fearing his career could be over.
The 28-year-old Ulster winger sits out Saturday's clash in Wales after suffering a knee injury on club duty in December.
It's frustrating him being sidelined for the entire championship.
His comeback should be sometime in April, though it will be a week or two after Ulster's Heineken Cup quarter-final which was moved to Twickenham yesterday by Saracens.
But he can easily put his situation into perspective. "I have been lucky with the injury," said Bowe, whose six weeks on crutches after an operation ended on Monday.
"To not catch my cruciate was lucky. There is a nerve attached to the fibia bone and not catching that was a blessing because that could have been curtains altogether.
"I count myself as being quite lucky. Three to four months is nothing really."
Bowe is setting no targets for a return and the Monaghan man added: "I'd love to say I'll be back for the quarter-final but I think that could be a week or two too soon.
"I'd love Ulster to win it. We have put ourselves in a strong position and hopefully we can keep going the way we have been."
But the priority is Wales and Bowe's gut feeling is Ireland should have enough to reverse the trend of Welsh wins.
"I would be hopeful," he said. "We are still very much hurting from the World Cup quarter-final and the first Six Nations game last year - we know how big this game
AGONY J Bowe is stretchered off with knee injury last year
RECOVERING J Tommy Bowe back in good spirits yesterday