Leinster and Ireland hooker Richardt Strauss should return to action in four to six weeks as his medial ligament damage was less serious than first feared.
Originally, it was thought that Strauss may miss the 2013 Six Nations after injuring his ligament in Leinster's 28-21 Heineken Cup defeat to Clermont on Saturday.
However, it would be appear the South African-born hooker could now be back in action by the end of January.
Ireland open their Six Nations campaign against Wales in Cardiff on 2 February.
In other positive news for Leinster and Ireland, centre Brian O'Driscoll has resumed pitch training with the Dublin-based team, while fullback Rob Kearney will return to training next week.
Long-term injury list member Luke Fitzgerald is also close to a return to action.