Sale Sharks director of rugby Bryan Redpath has allayed fears that flanker Hendre Fourie is to retire due to a shoulder injury.
33-year-old Fourie has played only 14 minutes of Premiership rugby since joining Sale from Leeds at the start of last season.
"He's been through a lot in the last year-and-a-half," Redpath told the BBC.
"He knows where he is and he needs to make sure everything is fully fit and fully functional. At the moment, it's not and he needs some time."
Redpath said the club would stand by the England international in his bid to return to action.
"He's going through a tough time and we need to support him as much as possible," he explained.
"He's definitely not going to play until we assess him again in November. We're trying to give him time to rest and recover.
"Whether it's sooner or later, hopefully we can get him back in a Sale strip and back playing because he's a great player."