Connacht body blow as injury fells Willie Faloon
Connacht have suffered a massive blow with in-form flanker Willie Faloon out for up to six months with a broken foot.
Faloon picked up the injury in Connacht's 18-7 defeat to his former side Ulster last weekend and visited a specialist to uncover the extent of the damage. However, Pat Lam is resigned to losing his battling flanker until the New Year at least.
Connacht have lost two of their opening three matches and face a daunting Heineken Cup campaign, having been drawn in the same pool as Toulouse and Saracens.
"He is seeing the surgeon for a review today, but it is certainly going to be a long-term injury for us," said Lam, who last week lost out-half Miah Nikora until next spring.
"It looks like his foot is broken, but we'll learn more from the review. It requires surgery so it could be anything – four, five or six months. It is a definite long-termer which is a real shame.
"I really feel for him at the moment. He missed the last bit of last season and he has trained so well and was going really well for us," said Lam.
Lam also looks like being without hooker Jason Harris-Wright for Saturday's visit of the Ospreys to the Sportsground, with the former Leinster front-row also pencilled in for a scan to investigate a bicep strain which is not as serious as initially feared although he could be sidelined for a few weeks.
But there was better news on new signing Craig Clarke, who Lam expects to be fit to face the undefeated Ospreys, after retiring at half-time in the Ulster game with a tight calf.
"With his calf, he was touch and go to play against Ulster and he just felt it slightly at half-time. We were not going to take a risk at that stage. He came off and we are glad he did because a lot of the boys started to cramp.
"And he has now had a bit more conditioning behind him this week so he is ready for the weekend."
Centre Dave McSharry has also returned to training after recovering from a hip injury and he is expected to return to the field in two weeks' time for his club UCD, while prop Denis Buckley has also made his way back to training after a shoulder injury.