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Munster head coach Johann van Graan has reassured star outhalf Joey Carbery that the province is right behind him as he fights his way back to full fitness.

There was disappointing news this afternoon as Munster announced that the Ireland international had suffered another setback in his recovery from an ankle injury that he sustained last summer saying that he will be sidelined for "an indefinite period of time".

It had been hoped that the 24-year-old would return in September after recovering from ankle surgery which he underwent after his last return in December was halted by a wrist injury but he will now take further steps in rehabilitating his ankle and van Graan was keen to highlight the efforts being made by the player to get back.

"I think that's the most important thing at play and that's Joey. Obviously he has been working very hard on his rehab. He did everything that all the medical team asked him to do," said van Graan.

"Unfortunately in the next step of his rehabilitation, he went to see the specialist again and that wasn't great news. Firstly it's important that we look after him. Joey is very positive and he has been, ever since the first time that I've met him.

"Together with David and Andy, we met up with him last week and reassured him that we've got his back. Munster and the IRFU are with him on his journey to a full recovery."

The news comes in a big week for Munster as they gear up for a return to action with a Guinness PRO14 clash with Leinster at an empty Aviva Stadium. Speaking in the pre-match press conference, the head coach was reluctant to comment when asked if Carbery would have to go under the knife again.

"Like we said, he's out for an indefinite time and we'll just take it day by day with him now until he returns," added van Graan.

"I'm not a medical person. In conjunction with Munster, the IRFU and the specialists we will look after him every step of the way. I wouldn't want to speculate any further on the matter. Joey is very important, not only to Munster rugby but to Irish rugby so it's important that we look after him in the coming long months ahead."

Munster captain Peter O'Mahony praised Carbery's toughness and like his head coach, offered support to his team-mate as he battles his way back to the playing pitch.

"He's a resilient youngfella. He's more than capable of getting through his rehab. It's just going to be a bit longer than he thought," said O'Mahony.

"He's prepared to do what it takes to get himself back fit and we're all there to give him a hand whenever he needs it and to back him up and he'll get there but it's disappointing not to have him involved. The quality of player and the impact he brings is second to none."

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Guinness Pro14 Joey Carbery Johan Van Graan Leinster Munster Munster Rugby Peter O'Mahony

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