Duane Vermeulen still hasn't trained with Ulster and it’s not clear whether he will feature for their Champions Cup clash in Clermont.
"Hypothetically, it would definitely be great to have him and if he were fit and up and running, it would be very smart to have him in the team," said Dan McFarland, ahead of Saturday’s tie in France.
The 35-year-old South Africa back row arrived in Belfast early last week but had to isolate having tested positive for Covid-19.
Lock Kieran Treadwell was able to confirm that the World Cup winner hadn’t yet met up or trained with the squad but has been added to the relevant team WhatsApp groups and had watched training videos and been involved in team meetings remotely.
"I haven't met him yet but he's coming in this week, I think," said Treadwell, "obviously following the protocols and we'll all stay as safe as we can."
McFarland, who saw hookers Brad Roberts and Tom Stewart injured in the defeat to Ospreys on Saturday, preferred to delay any medical update until Wednesday when speaking to the media on Monday afternoon.
Iain Henderson is another high-profile player currently sidelined.
The Ireland lock suffered a hamstring injury during the warm-up before the Autumn Nations Series game against Argentina on 21 November.
"It’s a quite complicated one this week so we’ll leave that until Wednesday, apologies for not being able to help out there," he said when asked for a general state of the squad comment.
What’s not in doubt, however, will be the quality of the Clermont outfit that awaits his side, currently third in the URC table.
"They’re a great team," he said.
"They have a lot of superstar players who are able to make superstar plays.
"That makes the task for us one of team-work and ensuring that we can bring collective pressure with the way that we play and put that pressure on to them. It’s a brilliant task but it’s a very, very difficult one.
"I can’t over-emphasise the quality of the challenge that they pose.
"In the last couple of weeks, they’ve been able to bring in some of their star backs in Alivereti Raka, Damian Penaud and Camille Lopez.
"So we know the challenge that we have got and we’re really looking forward to it."
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