Bristol Bears have been boosted with the news that Charles Piutau does not require surgery and could be available for selection by late October.
It was initially feared that the full back – who sustained a shoulder injury in the pre-season defeat to Connacht – could have been ruled out for 4-6 months.
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However, following a surgical consult on Saturday, it was confirmed that Piutau would not require surgery.
The All Black will work with Rory Murray and the club’s medical team throughout the rehabilitation process to return to full fitness.
Head coach Pat Lam said: “We had some really positive news regarding Charles’ shoulder following the surgical consult and it’s great that he won’t be sidelined for too long.
“We don’t want to lose somebody of Charles’ ability for any amount of time, but that’s the nature of the sport and it really underlines the importance of having depth and quality in every position.
“Charles is a hugely positive person and he’s raring to go with his recovery. He’s desperate to play for Bristol Bears and contribute to the team. He will play a big part for the club this season and will be in the mix, battling for a place in the side, in the not too distant future.”