Munster head coach Rob Penney has admitted that he is unsure when lock Paul O'Connell will return to action.
2009 British & Irish Lions captain O'Connell has been struggling to overcome a knee injury which has kept him on the sidelines since May.
He missed Ireland's tour to New Zealand in June and seems doubtful for Munster's Heineken Cup opener against Racing Metro on October 13.
"He's making progress, which is great, but there's absolutely no deadline date for him to return," Penney told the Irish Independent.
"For me, to see the guy playing at the highest level at 100 percent would be a wonderful thing, and being consistent in his ability to play at every level at 100 percent, so the pragmatic view comes on the back of those things.
"It's very simple really - if you care for your players then those sorts of decisions about their welfare are no-brainers."
Penney said there was no pressure being put on the lock to return to action.
"It's probably a week-to-week thing," he explained.
We've had a lot of discussions. When Paul feels like he's ready he'll be back on the grass.
"He's in a programme but there's no set guidelines on when he'll be back to play.
"If it takes a month it takes a month, two months then two months. It'll be what it'll be."