Published Friday, 01 March 2013
Ireland and Ulster''s Stephen Ferris. (© Pacemaker)
The Ulster and Ireland flanker had an operation on Wednesday and is expected to be sidelined until the end of May, making it unlikely that he will have recovered in time to join Warren Gatland's squad when the Lions leave for Hong Kong on 1 June.
A statement from Ravenhill said the 27-year-old, who sustained the injury last November, was reviewed last week and has made "excellent" progress - but is still having problems.
"Those issues included function at the ankle continuing to cause pain," the club explained.
"Having considered all specialist medical opinions given, Stephen underwent successful ankle surgery in Belfast yesterday, during which fragments of bone were removed.
"Stephen will be out of rugby for a further three months but following this period is expected to make a full and complete return to the game."
Ferris would have been a firm favourite to make the Lions starting lineup, but for the ankle injury which has blighted his season and already ruled him out of Ireland's autumn series and the recent games against Wales, England and Scotland in the Six Nations.
It's the latest in a long line of injuries for the player after calf damage kept him out of Ireland's summer tour of New Zealand and a back complaint hampered his role in the PRO12.
The loss will be a substantial blow for Gatland's hopes, with fellow blindside Dan Lydiate yet to return from ankle surgery and Tom Croft only gingerly making his way back from neck trouble.