Kilkenny were dominated by Tipperary in the All-Ireland final last September. While the Premier enjoyed almost total domination all over the field, the loss of Michael Fennelly was telling.
The 2011 Hurler of the Year suffered a ruptured Achilles injury in the semi-final replay win over Waterford, and missed out on the decider as a result.
The 31-year-old is yet to return to action, and in an interview with GAA.ie, he gave an update on his progress thus far.
It is not clear whether or not he will return in 2017 for the Cats.
“I haven’t got a clue and that’s the honest truth about it. It’s very difficult to put time limits on Achilles.
“It would be six months, seven months, eight months, nine months, it depends on the severity of the injury, how bad it was and how you come back from it, the healing process.
“We won’t really know until I get back running, get a few weeks under the belt running, probably won’t know to maybe March or April.”
Losing Fennelly for 2017 would come as a major blow to Brian Cody and Kilkenny, who looked short on real game-winners in the defeat to Tipp last September.
Fennelly has been a driving force in the middle of the park for the Cats in recent seasons, and his return would signal a major boost for the side.
The Cats will likely face Wexford in the Leinster semi-final to kick off their defence of the Bob O’Keeffe Cup, in a year which many people are viewing as a defining one as far as the future of Cody is concerned.
Kilkenny open their League campaign at home to Waterford on February 12.