Paul O'Connell looks set to be sidelined until January at the earliest as he considers undergoing an operation on a niggling back injury.

O'Connell hasn't seen action since Munster's emphatic victory over Edinburgh in the Heineken Cup on 21 October and subsequently missed the November Internationals.

The second-row is now mulling going under the knife in an effort to deal with an injury that has flared up again. A decision on whether the operation will take place will be made this week.