Taulupe Faletau: Injured Wales back-row could play some part in Six Nations
Wales forward Taulupe Faletau does not require surgery on his injured knee, increasing his chances of playing some part in the 2018 Six Nations.
The 70-times capped number eight damaged medial knee ligaments on European Champions Cup duty for Bath.
The prognosis means Faletau, 27, could be available for Wales' final two games against Italy and France in March.
"It doesn't need surgical intervention, which is a real positive," Bath rugby director Todd Blackadder said.
"That cuts it back by about a month. We are looking at about 12 weeks."
Faletau was injured in Bath's 24-20 loss away to Toulon on 9 December and it was initially feared he could be out for up to 16 weeks if he required surgery.
However, although the recovery time has now been revised to 12 weeks, the British and Irish Lions forward will still miss Wales' opening Six Nations games with Scotland, England and Ireland.
Wales, who begin the competition against Scotland in Cardiff, are already without Faletau's fellow 2017 Lions Sam Warburton and Jonathan Davies.
Warburton has had knee surgery, while centre Davies is out for the season after surgery on an ankle.
Wales are also likely to start the tournament without Scarlets lock Jake Ball, who dislocated his shoulder in the defeat by the All Blacks in November.