Paul O’Connell underwent surgery on Monday in Dublin to correct a bulging disc that was pressing on a nerve in his lower back.
The operation was a success and O’Connell left hospital on Tuesday and returned home.
O’Connell had a similar issue in 2002 that required surgery and a re-occurrence in 2008 but at that time it was managed without needing surgery and he got back in time to feature in the knock out stages of the Heineken Cup and domestic league.
When the problem arose again this season it was initially decided to manage it conservatively as in 2008.
However though progress was made using that treatment, improvements slowed and after further consultation it was believed more prudent for him to undergo surgery in order to make a return to match fitness.
O’Connell said: “I’m delighted with the way the operation went. More importantly, so too are the medical team who carried out the operation and I am very grateful to all concerned.
My aim now is to start rehab as soon as is practicable. In terms of a return, I’d be looking at early April when hopefully Munster will be in contention for trophies on two fronts.”
Meanwhile, Munster will look to pounce and take second place in the standings if Scarlets lose to Ulster on Friday night when they are due to face Cardiff in Cork on Saturday.
The Irish Province have won five of their last six matches in the PRO12.
The Munstermen have won just one of their last 10 home games in all competitions (6-13 to Scarlets) at Musgrave Park on 25 November.
Cardiff Blues’ four game losing run in all competitions ended at home to Newport Gwent Dragons on Boxing Day, whilst the Blues’ solo away win since September came against Zebre in Parma in November.