Boss Mike Ruddock has revealed that back row Kai Horstmann is set for minor surgery on his rib injury - but has reported positive news over the fitness of quartet Chris Pennell, Calum MacRae, Matthew Jones and Olivier Sourgens.
Horstmann has been ruled out of action since suffering the injury against London Wasps in mid-
But Director of Rugby Ruddock now hopes to have him back in four weeks after he goes under the knife in the coming days.
"We have decided with Kai that we will do a small operation around the rib to give a little bit of fixation to it," said Ruddock.
"He has got a cracked rib and we believe we can help that along with a bit of surgery so that will now happen.
"That will put him out for about four weeks, but that should out him right for the rest of the season and stop that reoccurring.
"We have some good options available to us in the back row so we won't rush Kai back. It's not a major operation to the extent of when you re-set a shoulder or a knee."
Ruddock has also announced that flying backs Pennell and MacRae are pushing for a comeback in the trip to Olympus Rugby XV Madrid in the Amlin Challenge Cup in Spain next weekend.
He said: "It's looking good for Chris. He has dropped back into training this week so he could well feature in the panel for the Madrid game. He might not start but could be on the bench, a lot will depend how he goes in the next week.
"He is comfortable and we spoke to him about going back into training. That is great news and hopefully everything will go to plan and he can make his comeback.
"Calum is now able to drop back into skills work, he can't do contact yet but will do next week ahead of the Madrid game. Hopefully he will be fine for that.
"We have also had some positive news over Matthew who has been told by the surgeon he can put load on his foot. He has done some jogging for the first time in a long time and over the next four to five weeks he can build that up so we can have him back.
"Meanwhile, Olivier Sourgens is making good progress; his return timescale is for the Harlequins game."
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