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Randwick and HSBC Waratahs backrower Ben Mowen will miss the remainder of his 2009 Tooheys New Shute Shield campaign after suffering a tear of his right anterior cruciate ligament against Manly on Saturday.
Mowen suffered the injury while carrying the ball into contact shortly before the end of the first half. He stayed on for the remaining seconds to be fully reassessed at the break but failed to return to the field in Randwick's 41-13 victory.
He will undergo surgery this week, and is expecting to be back in time to kick off the HSBC Waratahs 2010 campaign.
"We're starting to play some pretty good footy at Randwick, so it's really disappointing," said Mowen. "We've won nine of our last ten games and hitting form at the right end of the season, but while it's going to be hard sitting on the sidelines I still think we have real shot at the title.
"I guess if there's one positive it's the timing of the injury. They're saying I could be out for around six months, which would bring me back right on time for next season with NSW, and maybe if the rehab goes well, possibly for the trials as well; time will tell.
"That's a long way away though, so I just need to get in, have the surgery and start back with the rehab as soon as possible."
Mowen said while there is a lot rehabilitation to be done between now and the start of the 2010 Super 14, he is extremely upbeat about the HSBC Waratahs chances.
"Looking at the forwards we've predominantly got the same group of guys as last year and we were probably one of the better packs in the comp," said Mowen. "Now we have Berrick [Barnes] and Drew [Mitchell] in the backs too, so it's looking really exciting and vibe around the place is really positive at the moment."