Tommy Bowe: Shoulder injury could rule out Ulster wing for up to eight weeks
Tommy Bowe could be out of action for up to eight weeks after sustaining a shoulder injury in Ulster's Pro14 hammering by Leinster on Saturday.
Bowe's injury was a further blow for Ulster's director of rugby Les Kiss after his team's second inter-pro mauling of the Christmas period.
"It looks like it's around the sternum but we're doing more tests," said Kiss.
"The doc said weeks so that could be anything getting up to eight. That's a shame for him."
The 33-year-old's injury is likely to put paid to any slim hopes he had of being included in Ireland's Six Nations squad.
Leinster's six-try rout of his side at the RDS heaped further pressure on Kiss with Edinburgh now only three points behind Ulster, who occupy the third and final play-off spot in Conference B.
Kiss admitted that Saturday's display was "unacceptable" but vowed that his side would aim to respond in Saturday's European Champions Cup game against La Rochelle.
"There is always pressure in the game. The noise is out there. I understand that," added Ulster's director of rugby.
"I know it doesn't look like it but we are doing a lot of good things. We have got to do a lot of other things better.
"We've got a chance in Europe now. We've got to respond like we did last week [against Munster] and do something about it."
When asked whether Leinster are operating at a different level to his side, Kiss accepted that is the case "at the moment".
"They are, aren't they? You can tell by the scoreline. It's an inter-pro. We should be better than that.
"We didn't control anything around the ball that gave us a chance to contain them or put pressure on them.
"They had a really easy ride. We weren't good enough. That's the bottom line."