Henshaw in fitness race for Six Nations after setback
Robbie Henshaw is in a race to be fit for the Six Nations after it emerged that a fractured bone in his hand is taking longer than expected.
However, Connacht coach Pat Lam believes the Irish centre will be fine for the start of the defence of the Six Nations against Wales in just over three weeks' time.
Lam had hoped to bring the 22-year-old to France this weekend where Connacht will hope to take a big step towards securing a Challenge Cup quarter-final spot when they take on Brive.
But Lam confirmed that it will be another week or two before Henshaw (below) returns to action. The Ireland centre suffered a metacarpal fracture of his hand in the final minutes of Connacht's famous 18-12 win over Munster at Thomond Park on November 28.
"Robbie had his CT scan on Friday, and it showed it is not fully healed so he was advised to take another one or two weeks. Maybe, he might be available hopefully next week," said Lam.
"The most important thing now is that we got the clarity on that fracture. If he is back playing next week, he has plenty of time (for the Six Nations)."
Connacht's options have been limited further with second row Andrew Browne set to miss at least a month after he picked up a shoulder knock at Scarlets last weekend.
The 28-year-old was replaced by Aly Muldowney after just nine minutes at Parc y Scarlets in the 21-19 Pro12 defeat.
"Unfortunately Andrew Browne has had an MRI, and the X-ray confirmed that he has an AC fracture. So we expect him to be out for four to six weeks.
"Which is a big loss considering we are still waiting for Quinn Roux and Ben Marshall on long-term injuries," said Lam.
However, loosehead prop Denis Buckley (ankle) and back row Eoin McKeon (elbow) are both back fit and available after their time out.
Versatile Darragh Leader also returned to training this week, but he remains doubtful ahead of the weekend along with scrum-half Kieran Marmion and centre Craig Ronaldson.
"Kieran Marmion had a hip flexor strain against Scarlets so we will monitor him this week. He will be fitness tested to see is he available.
"Craig Ronaldson took a knock to the shoulder, we are hoping that will settle as well. But we will just monitor that during the week," added the Connacht head coach.