Munster and Ireland hooker Jerry Flannery is to undergo a shoulder operation in Dublin today which may rule him out for part of the new season.
The 27-year-old, who racked up nine Test caps last season, picked up a shoulder injury on the summer tour to New Zealand and Australia.
"I need to get the situation clarified and I have gone to the best medical people in the business - people who have dealt with Brian O'Driscoll, David Wallace and Mike Prendergast," he commented.
"It is a worrying time, I'm not sure what the damage is but it is not right."
While the exact nature of Flannery's injury is yet to be confirmed, Irish captain Brian O'Driscoll was back playing six months after dislocating his shoulder during last year's Lions tour.
...Flannery in action against New Zealand in June...
Ironically for Flannery it was a neck injury to Frankie Sheahan that gave him the chance to assume the mantle of first choice hooker with both Munster and Ireland last season.
Sheahan, who is currently on honeymoon, will be on the comeback trail once he returns.
"I think there is an opportunity for people to make their claim," Flannery added.
"We all have to take our chances with injury. So we sit down, we look at a situation and when we have a problem we take it from there."