Worcester Warriors were yesterday relieved to hear that their fly-half and goal- kicker James Brown will only miss one Premiership match after undergoing surgery for appendicitis.
The 26-year-old was taken to hospital on Tuesday for an emergency appendectomy and club officials had been concerned that the operation would rule him out for six weeks and potentially all but two of their remaining league fixtures.
But because surgeons were able to carry out a keyhole procedure, Brown will be absent from just the Bath game on March 12 meaning Worcester, who are still not assured of their topflight status, can call on the player for their remaining matches against Saracens, Newcastle, Wasps and Northampton.
"It is a relief," admitted director of rugby John Brain. "He has directed things pretty well for us. His goalkicking against Harlequins was very good.
"No kick is easy in professional rugby, especially in a game like that when we are on an away ground and playing in a testing wind."
Warriors have won their last three games with Brown in the No 10 shirt and have moved to within a few points of surviving their first Premiership season.
Solid performances, as well as a lack of other national candidates, led to a call-up for the England A side last month and went some way to silencing his critics.
Brown produced a flawless performance with the boot at The Stoop when he landed five penalties in a 15-9 win. He also gave a competent display in last Friday night's victory over Sale.
One player who probably won't miss the meeting with Bath is skipper Pat Sanderson, who is likely to be called up by England to play in the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in Hong Kong.
Sanderson was named in an initial group of 15 players on Tuesday and is almost certain to make the final squad of 12 who will arrive in Hong Kong on March 14.
With Worcester going to the Recreation Ground two days earlier there had been some suggestions the flanker would not be available but Brain is confident that w o n ' t happen.
"I think there is every chance we will keep him," said Brain. "I have had notification this morning from Premier Rugby and the indication is that they will release those guys."
Sanderson is hot favourite to be named player of the year at Sixways this season and has inspired his new team in their first Premiership campaign to such an extent that many people are arguing for his restoration to the England side.
Brain also described contract negotiations with Sanderson's fellow back-row forward Drew Hickey as 'encouraging'.
The Australian is the subject of speculation linking him with a return to his homeland after Australian coach Eddie Jones was spotted casting an eye over his compatriot when he appeared against Quins.
Hickey is one of several Warriors to have impressed in making the transition from National One to top-level rugby and gave a man-of-the-match performance against the Londoners.
While the 26-year-old has options to go back to Australia or go and play in Ireland, he is currently in talks with Worcester about staying.
Brain said: "We have offered something and things are looking positive.
"We believed he was a Premiership player when we signed him from Orrell a couple of years ago and he is showing that ability."
One man who won't be at Sixways next season is Tongan international Pila Fifita who is playing in National One with Coventry.
Brain revealed that the Worcester coaching staff had watched tapes of the dynamic winger but said he would not be making an approach for the player.