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Sean O'Brien will not rush his return out of fear that it could bring his career to a premature end.
O'Brien has been sidelined with a serious hamstring injury since February but he is closing in on a return and could be ready for Ireland's meeting with New Zealand in November.
Having missed the opening game of the 2016 RBS Six Nations with a hamstring injury, O'Brien returned to the starting XV for the game against France, only to suffer a serious tear to the muscle in the 20th minute of the game in Paris.
He was forced to undergo surgery to help repair the damage and as he nears a return the flanker is wary about pushing his body before it is ready.
"This is my career as such so it's not about getting back for a game," O'Brien stated. "This is about me wanting to play for the next four or five years. There's no point going back a week before I should - that's goodnight. That's basically what it would be if I tore it again.
"I'd like to be back in October, that would be the plan because it leaves me the chance to get picked for November. If I don't, I don't."
O'Brien has undergone numerous surgeries during the course of his career and the lengthy injury list has raised doubts over his career.
The 29-year-old accepts that his career could be short lived but he is not prepared to change his approach to the game.
"I've had that thought (about his career), I would be lying if I didn't think about it when I did the rehab and came back and then it wasn't good...it was a very unusual tear," he is quoted as saying in the Irish Sun.
"There have been a lot of surgeries, I've always had big thing, I don't have small tears or knocks. If something goes, I break it. I break a hand, an arm or a shoulder.
"You can't change your attitude. You can be smarter with contact and the way you play but the same aggression and attitude is there.
"That's what makes you a really good player and what gets you into trouble, in terms of your body. I will try to improve that by making good decision."
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