Hendy winning injury race against clock
A silver lining has emerged in Ulster's long-term injury situation with the news that Iain Henderson is on course to return before the end of the season.
After the star forward injured a hamstring against Edinburgh at the start of last month, there had been fears the 23-year-old (pictured) could miss the rest of the campaign.
But, after a visit to a specialist in London on Monday, Henderson has now confirmed that he hopes to be back for the province's final games, and in time for Ireland's summer tour to South Africa.
"It was positive news but we still have to take this week by week and stage by stage. Fingers crossed I'll get some games in before the end of the season," he said.
Tommy Bowe, who injured a knee at the World Cup, is also still on course for a return this season. Lock Dan Tuohy, injured in the same game as Henderson, will see a specialist for his foot problem today but is also making steady improvements in his efforts to return during the Six Nations window.
There was less positive news for Wiehahn Herbst however, with the tight-head's foot problem not requiring surgery but still set to see him miss the next two to three months of action.
In the short term, Ruan Pienaar is likely to miss Saturday's Guinness Pro12 trip to Benetton Treviso (5pm kick-off) with the same virus that kept the influential scrum-half out of last weekend's win over Oyonnax.
Flanker Chris Henry is nearing a return from his shoulder injury but this weekend will come too soon for the Irish international while Kyle McCall's head injury is being monitored ahead of the visit to Italy.