Leinster and Ireland flanker Will Connors is out for the rest of the season following a review of his knee injury.
The 25-year-old suffered knee ligament damage against Cardiff at the end of January and was subsequently ruled out for eight to ten weeks.
However, the latest medical update from the URC champions reveals the wing forward, who has won nine Ireland caps since making his debut in October 2020, will play no further role this season.
"We weren't sure until he went to see the specialist and the specialist had an investigation and found some loose cartilage and various other things that needed tightening up," Leinster senior coach Stuart Lancaster told RTÉ Sport.
"If not, it was going to be a consistently reoccurring injury so better get it done now and have it sorted so he could have a good crack at pre-season and into next season.
"It’s hugely frustrating for him, he’s worked so hard and been so diligent in his rehab, but he’s an upbeat guy. I spoke to him today and he’s my new assistant defence coach so he’ll be made good use of."
It's been a frustrating 12 months. The game can be tough at times.— Will Connors (@wconnors09) February 21, 2022
Looking forward to cracking into the rehab and getting myself back fitter and stronger for next season. Excited for a big few months from the lads. Viva 🦌 pic.twitter.com/35NtOnZ9yN
Team-mate Dan Leavy returns to training this week following his recovery from a wrist injury suffered in training in January.
"There's a good chance he’ll be involved this week so whilst you lose Will, Dan is making great progress from his hand injury," added the former England head coach.
"Other than that he’s been fine, it was an unlucky hand injury."
A decision on the flanker's involvement against the Emirates Lions on Friday night at the RDS [7.35pm] will be made later in the week.
Rory O'Loughlin [illness] and Vakh Abdaladze [neck] may also be involved with Leo Cullen giving the duo time to prove their fitness this week.
Rhys Ruddock [quad], James Lowe [hamstring] and Jimmy O'Brien [calf] came through the win over Ospreys on Saturday with no issues with the latter two now joining the Ireland squad ahead of their clash with Italy on Sunday.
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