Ulster could be without big-hitting backrow, Marcell Coetzee, for Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 derby showdown against Leinster at the RDS, Dublin.
The influential Coetzee suffered a concussion in the 21-12 loss to Connacht last Friday and will follow the return-to-play protocols.
It is a major setback for head coach Dan McFarland ahead of the final festive derby game against their Conference B rivals.
Having missed the most of his first two seasons with Ulster due to knee injuries, Coetzee has started 15 games for Ulster this season and has been a key player for the Province.
Ulster, however, are able to welcome back second row Alan O’Connor are a spell on the injury lines with an ankle injury, while props Wiehahn Herbst and Andy Warwick are both fit again after injury.
Ulster also confirmed yesterday that young prop Tommy O’Hagan had suffered an ankle injury.
He suffered the ‘significant ankle injury’ in his senior debut against Connacht and will need to undergo further scans this week to establish the extent of the problem, Ulster Rugby said.
Leinster will be without wing James Lowe after he was red-carded following a challenge on Munster’s Andrew Conway in last weekend’s PRO14 derby.
Lowe was cited after the game and is to attend a disciplinary hearing today.
Meanwhile, Ireland internationals Jack McGrath and Rob Kearney have both returned to training for Leinster this week and wing Barry Daly is expected to return to the team after a long-term knee injury.