Fabien Pelous has been ruled out of action for up to six weeks with an ankle injury – but the France captain should be fit for the start of the RBS 6 Nations Championship.
Pelous sprained his left ankle during Toulouse’s Heineken Cup defeat to Llanelli Scarlets on Saturday.
He will be sidelined for between four to six weeks, giving him
just enough time to recover ahead of France’s Six Nations opener against Italy on February 3.
The injury will nevertheless be of concern to Les Bleus head coach Bernard Laporte.
The lock has endured numerous injuries over the past year and a half.
On returning from ruptured knee ligaments which ruled him out for much of 2005, Pelous was banned for nine weeks for elbowing Australia hooker Brendan Cannon during the November Tests that year.
In 2006, he has suffered knee and hand injuries, followed by this ankle problem.
"I have been spared injury for much of my career," he said. "But now I am really starting to get a lot of them.
"The good news is that 2006 is going to end. And that is certainly not a shame. Long live 2007!"
If he does play against Italy in the Six Nations, it will be his 111th cap for France, equalling the appearance record held by Philippe Sella.