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Kevin Kelly will be out of action until July having undergone knee surgery, in another blow to Kilkenny chief Brian Cody.
Speaking to the Kilkenny People, Kelly conceded he would be on crutches for eight weeks.
"I was shocked when I learned the full extent of the injury. It is very disappointing but there is nothing that I can do unfortunately. All I can do is work hard and get back playing as quickly as I can."
Kelly damaged his articular cartilage in the left knee in the Leinster club final win over Wicklow's Glenealy but continued to play out the rest of the year.
It is deemed highly unlikely that both Paul Murphy and Colin Fennelly would be available for the opening round of the Leinster SHC, both on a tour of duty with the Irish army in Lebanon.