Bristol Bears' ongoing Gallagher Premiership campaign have been boosted by the news that New Zealand international Charles Piutau is on track to return to action in October following a shoulder injury.
The 26-year-old sustained the blow during the pre-season clash against Connacht and was initially expected to be sidelined for close to six months but head coach Pat Lam confirmed on Monday that Piutau will not require surgery and is likely to join the squad next month.
"We had some really positive news regarding Charles' shoulder following the surgical consult and it's great that he won't be sidelined for too long," said Lam.
"We don't want to lose somebody of Charles' ability for any amount of time, but that's the nature of the sport and it really underlines the importance of having depth and quality in every position.
"Charles is a hugely positive person and he's raring to go with his recovery. He's desperate to play for Bristol Bears and contribute to the team.
"He will play a big part for the club this season and will be in the mix, battling for a place in the side, in the not too distant future."
Bristol started the new season with a 17-10 win over Bath in the opening round and are set to face Saracens next at Allianz Park on 8th September.