Lee Byrne is set to give Wales a boost after it was revealed he could return in time for the RBS Six Nations.
The Ospreys full-back has been out of action since suffering a fracture to his thumb in the autumn international defeat to New Zealand on November 27.
However Byrne is set to have the plaster taken off this week - with initial plans for the 30-year-old to play in the Heineken Cup clash with London Irish on January 15.
"This Saturday is six weeks' post-injury, and Lee is having the plaster removed at the end of this week," said Ospreys physiotherapist Chris Towers.
"He is eager to be back playing as soon as possible, and we will be looking to accelerate his return with a view to making him available for the London Irish game."
Wales launch their Six Nations campaign at home against England on February 4.