Veteran Wallabies flanker George Smith could still play in the upcoming series against the British and Irish Lions after a scan showed a knee injury was not as serious as first thought.
Smith, who hoped to return from international retirement and to add to his 110 Tests for the Wallabies, suffered a grade two medial ligament tear on his left knee while playing for the Brumbies in Saturday's match against the Waratahs.
But according to Australian media reports, at best, the 32-year-old will be out of action for six weeks and could therefore be fit to play the second of Australia's three Tests against the Lions in Melbourne on June 29.
However, it is still more likely he will miss the entire Lions series and return for the Brumbies' match against the Western Force in Perth on July 13.
Smith, who played all three Tests on the 2001 Lions tour, would have been included in the 25-man party after the Australian Rugby Union had concluded protracted negotiations with his Japanese club Suntory last week.
The injury setback led to his omission, however, with Michael Hooper and Liam Gill named by Wallabies coach Robbie Deans as the two contenders for the key number seven shirt.
Ironically, Smith got his chance to shine at the Brumbies this year because of a season-ending knee injury to Australia's first-choice openside flanker David Pocock.