RUGBY: Frustrated Tommy Bowe still playing waiting game to make Ulster return
The British Lions winger managed just one appearance for his club last season.
Serious knee ligament damage sustained during Ireland’s World Cup quarter-final loss to Argentina almost a year ago sidelined Bowe.
His rehab has gone well but the process of getting back into the fray has been slow.
He trained with the club in Portugal ahead of the start of the pre-season games which have seen Ulster lost to both Leinster and Exeter Chiefs on the road.
Friday night rugby returns to Belfast tomorrow evening and Ulster fans have the opportunity of seeing two games at Kingspan Stadium.
First up at 5.15pm will be Ulster ‘A’ against Canada ‘A’ before Northampton Saints take on the Ulster senior side.
The games will give more players some game time - some making their first appearances of the season - ahead of the opening Guinness PRO12 game against Newport Gwent Dragons on Friday, September 2.
However, Bowe may have to wait a little bit longer before he is back on the pitch.
On his fitness Bowe said: “I feet great, I’m been fit the last four or five weeks.
“Yes, my knee has been a bit of a disaster over the last 10 months, I managed to get myself back for that game in April and I had a bit of bone bruising on the knee.
“It seems so innoxious bone bruising, but something that seems very hard to get rid of and there is very little that you can do.
“I had a nice break over the summer, went away got a bit of sunshine and was able to rest up.
“I was able to come back into the new season and go back to basics to try and build up my quads, hamstring and calf to new levels to take the pressure of my knee.
“The difference that has made in the last four or five weeks has been unbelievable and it feels like a new knee and back to normal again.
“That is great and I can take part in all sorts of training and I’m at that level where I can put the final nuts and bolts on for myself to be hopefully able to be ready to rock.”
In terms of when he can make an appearance in the Ulster jersey again, Bowe said it was basically a wait and see situation.
“I do not think I am bring protected - far from it,” he exclaimed.
“I have chatted to Les (Kiss) about games and to have something to aim.
“Just having something to work to pushes you a bit ahead of where you should be instead of listening to your body and your body telling you that you are ready now.
“I hope to be ready to go as soon as possible, but I have a few markers still to tick over the next couple of weeks and then I will be ready to go.”