Leinster will take cautious approach as O'Brien battles hip problem
Leinster will not take any risks with the fitness of their Lions flanker Seán O'Brien but they have tentatively marked down the Champions Cup round five clash in Dublin against Glasgow on Sunday week as a potential date for his return.
The Tullow man has been struggling with a tight hip problem and, given the extensive nature of his injury problems in recent seasons, Leinster will ensure that he is 100pc ready to return before deciding to pitch him into the fray.
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt will also monitor the situation closely as the Six Nations opener with France looms at the beginning of February and it is hoped that O'Brien can see some action in either of the two Champions Cup games this month.
"He still has a bit of tightness and isn't moving as free as he needs to be," reported Leinster assistant coach John Fogarty.
"We're not going to risk it. Seán has had a few things that have caught him over the years.
"There are a lot of big moments ahead of us and for Ireland. We want to make sure he is in the best possible shape so he's not going to be available this week."
Joey Carbery returns to training this week following his broken wrist but there is no indication yet as to when he is due to return, but it is unlikely to be in time for an involvement in the upcoming European action.
Rory O'Loughlin is unlikely to be risked against Ulster this weekend following a HIA but here was better news for the McGraths, with both Lions prop Jack and international scrum-half Luke passing their respective HIA protocols.
Dan Leavy (back) faces a race against time to be fit.
Munster centre Sam Arnold will discover his fate today when a PRO14 disciplinary committee sits to rule on his red card during the defeat to Ulster for a high tackle on Christian Lealiifano, with anything more than the minimum two-week sanction ruling him out for the remainder of his side's Champions Cup matches.
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