BRIAN O'DRISCOLL is thought to be losing his battle to play for Leinster against The Ospreys in the Heineken Cup on Saturday evening.
For the purposes of giving O'Driscoll his best shot, it is believed the outside centre would not even take part in training today, waiting for a fitness test on Saturday morning.
As coach Matt O'Connor indicated there is a typical healing time of 7-10 days for the man who suffered from a Grade-1 calf strain last Tuesday week, which was nine days ago.
"It is a day-to-day proposition. If he can train with the team Thursday, he will play. If he can't, we'll save him for Castres," said O'Connor, earlier this week.
This puts O'Driscoll right on the cusp with the possibility hanging over his head that compounding the injury with a Grade-2 tear would rule him out for a further 4-6 weeks; a Grade-3 tear for three months.
The predicament is complicated by the fact that it is O'Driscoll's last season, one he cannot take lightly in terms of playing with an injury.
A Grade-2 tear would put O'Driscoll's final November Series in grave doubt, jeopardising his final shot at New Zealand in six weeks. It is difficult to see the medical staff taking that chance on the balance of probability.
The news is better for Tommy Bowe, who is chomping at the bit to return to action for Ulster in tomorrow night's Heinken Cup clash against the Leicester Tigers after missing out on last weekend due to injury.
The giant wing had to sit out last weekend's RaboPRO12 clash against his former club Ospreys owing to a dead leg but it's all systems go for the Monaghan man this time around.
"I took a bit of a knock and then aggravated it again," said Bowe. "But I'm feeling good this week so should be ready to go (against Tigers).
"I was devastated to miss the match last week. I haven't played the Ospreys since I left there. But I was struggling a little bit. It was better to rest for that week to make sure about this week. It was a great win."
Ulster are fourth in the RaboPRO12 after three consecutive wins followed two defeats, while Leicester have also won three in five.
Last week's draw against Northampton left the Tigers third in the Aviva Premiership, having averaged three tries a game.