Published Sunday, 30 December 2012
Paul O'Connell is to undergo surgery on his back. (© Pacemaker)
The operation makes him a doubt for the Six Nations which starts in February with a trip to the Millennium Stadium to face Wales.
O'Connell, the former Lions captain, has played just twice this season for Munster.
He was missing on Saturday night as they beat Ulster 24-10 at Thomond Park in the Pro12.
Ireland coach Declan Kidney is already resigned to being without Ulster duo of Stephen Ferris and Tommy Bowe.
However team captain Brian O'Driscoll is making a quicker than expected recoveryf rom ankle surgery and is expected to be fit.