England scrum-half Ben Youngs is expected to be back in action for Leicester Tigers by mid-April despite damaging knee ligaments on international duty in February.
The 28-year-old was expected to miss four months but could face Northampton on 14 April after only 10 weeks.
“It wasn’t as bad as we first thought,” Tigers head coach Matt O’Connor said.
“The fact there is not going to be any long-term affects and no surgery is hugely positive.”
Youngs ruptured the medial collateral ligament in his left knee in England’s 46-15 win over Italy in the Six Nations on 3 February.
O’Connor added: “Ben will be back in the mix training as quickly as he can. I think we are looking at Saints or Newcastle, which will give us a boost at a pretty important stage.
“Sam Harrison and Harry Simmons have been very, very good for us, but to have that level of experience coming back on hard tracks will be invaluable.”