Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll will miss his country's November internationals as he continues his recovery from a dislocated shoulder.
O'Driscoll was injured in an off-the-ball incident in the first Lions Test
He hopes to be back before Christmas but is wary of setting a firm date.
"I am not putting an end date on it because I don't want to disappoint myself, but the rehab is coming on really well," he told BBC Sport.
"I feel week to week it is getting progressively better and I hope to be playing in the not-so-distant future."
O'Driscoll was injured in an off-the-ball incident during the first Lions Test against New Zealand in June.
He expects to be fit to play for Leinster in the Heineken Cup pool stages in January and to be able to lead Ireland in the Six Nations, which starts in February.