British & Irish Lions captain Brian O’Driscoll is refusing to set any dates as he continues the recovery process from a shoulder injury that ended his tour of New Zealand less than five minutes into the Test series.
While he will sit out Ireland’s autumn Test schedule next month, which includes a Dublin clash against the All Blacks, O’Driscoll could be back playing before Christmas, with every chance of featuring in Leinster’s final two European Cup group games next January.
"It is not a case of setting targets," he said. "I am going to see the specialist on Tuesday, and kind of get the go-ahead to start some more rigorous type of preparation."
And as for the spear-tackle by All Blacks skipper Tana Umaga and hooker Keven Mealamu that caused his injury, O’Driscoll’s view on the incident has not changed.
"I still stand by the fact I was a little surprised that nothing ever did come of it," he added, recalling how Umaga and Mealamu both escaped punishment.
"I was told there was no malice in it, and I have to take that at face value, but a bad tackle is a bad tackle."
The 11th European Cup kicks off on Friday week, with defending champions Toulouse targeting an unprecedented fourth title success this season.
The final, meanwhile, returns to Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium next May for the first time since Leicester beat Munster in 2002.