Simon Easterby admits it is not ideal that Cian Healy could arrive at the World Cup without full match fitness as the Ireland prop battles neck trouble.
Forwards coach Easterby has backed 51-cap prop Healy to complete his protracted recovery from neck surgery in May in time for Ireland’s World Cup assault next month.
Easterby remains hopeful the British and Irish Lions front-rower could yet feature in the latter phases of Ireland’s four World Cup warm-up contests.
Ireland start their warm-up schedule against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday, with Easterby conceding Healy’s situation is being monitored “week to week”.
“It’s not ideal for any player not to get game time during this period, but we have to take a view of each individual and make sure we do the right thing by them,” said Easterby.
“Cian is progressing nicely and working week to week with the medical team.
“We’re giving him the best opportunity to get right over the next couple of weeks so we can hopefully include him towards the end of August.
“He is doing his rehabilitation programme and it’s going according to plan.
“It is a week to week thing and we don’t want to put too much pressure on his return.
“I think he’s progressing nicely at the moment, but we’re not going to put any timescale on it.”
After Saturday’s Cardiff clash, Ireland face Scotland, a return match against Wales in Dublin and a trip to Twickenham to face England to complete their World Cup warm-up run.
Head coach Joe Schmidt’s men will start their World Cup assault by taking on Canada at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, September 19.
Ireland will then meet Romania, Italy and France in their bid to top Pool D and secure the best-possible quarter-final draw.
Boss Schmidt must finalise his 31-man squad on August 31, with fringe players clamouring to prove their worth across this month’s warm-up battles.
Ireland will be at pains to give Healy as long as possible to prove his readiness for the World Cup, given his potency in both tight and loose exchanges.
“The medical team are on top of things and they’re pretty comfortable about how it’s going,” said former Ireland flanker Easterby.
“We have to obviously take advice from them in terms of where they feel Cian is and at the moment we’re just taking it week to week.
“We don’t want to put any more pressure on the situation.
“It’s a case of him going through the rehabilitation and that will hopefully continue to improve as we go week to week.
“They’re Test matches and it’s important that we have guys who are fully fit.
“That will be the case with all the players who might be coming back from surgery. We’ll make sure that we re-introduce them to game time as and when.”