18 May, 15:44
It's down to the wire now for the five contenders who have been shortlisted for the ultimate individual accolade in northern hemisphere rugby, ERC European Player of the Year 2013.
But, while the inspirational lock will miss those contests and the 2013 RBS 6 Nations, he believes he could still have a part to play in this season's tournament - if Munster go through as group winners or one of the two best Pool runners-up.
"I am delighted with the way the operation went," said the player who led Munster to their 2008 triumph and has made 67 tournament appearances but has not played for Munster since the Round 2 victory over Edinburgh Rugby.
"More importantly, so too are the medical team who carried out the operation and I am very grateful to all concerned.
"My aim now is to start rehab as soon as is practicable. In terms of a return, I'd be looking at early April when hopefully Munster will be in contention for trophies on two fronts."
If all goes according to plan O'Connell could also still make a challenge for inclusion in Warren Gatland's squad for the Lions' 10-match tour to Australia in the summer.
O'Connell had a similar issue in 2002 that required surgery and a re-occurrence in 2008 but at that time it was managed without needing surgery and he got back in time to feature in the knock out stages of the Heineken Cup and Magners League
When the problem arose again this season it was initially decided to manage it conservatively as in 2008. However though progress was made using that treatment, improvements slowed and after further consultation it was believed more prudent for him to undergo surgery in order to make a return to match fitness.