Munster's bad run of luck with injuries this season has continued with the confirmation that international scrum-half Peter Stringer is suffering from a knee ligament injury.
The 27-year-old sustained the knock during a training session in Limerick on Tuesday.
The province are already planning for the start of the Heineken Cup without Christian Cullen (shoulder), Anthony Horgan (knee), Mike Mullins (Achilles tendon) and Paul O'Connell (thumb), but there has been encouraging news regarding full-back/wing Shaun Payne (shoulder/neck) and lock Mick O'Driscoll (hand) - both have been included in an extended squad for Munster's Celtic League derby clash with Leinster this Sunday.
With Stringer out of action for a projected three-four weeks, meaning he will miss the province's opening two Heineken Cup fixtures against Sale and Castres, former Ireland Under-21 Tomas O'Leary, Frank Murphy and Mike Prendergast will come into first choice reckoning for Declan Kidney's side.
Kidney said: "We have great young players in the squad who are looking for places; that's the way it has always been in Munster and we don't ever think about what might be. We just have to accept these things and get on with it."
Stringer should be back in time, however, for the start of Ireland's Autumn international campaign.