Ulster captain Johann Muller is expected to be back in action ahead of schedule to give his side a boost before a testing pre-Christmas programme.
The big Springbok ruptured ligaments in his left thumb during the Heineken Cup victory over Glasgow last month and underwent surgery to correct the problem.
He was not expected to return until just before Christmas, but he has earmarked the Pro12 trip to the Scarlets on December 2 for his comeback.
Ulster presently have only one regular second-row available in Neil McComb, who will be involved on Sunday when Ulster travel to Zebre for the rearranged Pro12 tie.
Squad in factfile