Ireland have promoted lock Mick O'Driscoll to the starting line-up for Saturday's crucial RBS 6 Nations clash with Italy at the Stadio Flaminio.
O'Driscoll replaces Munster team-mate Paul O'Connell, who fractured his right thumb in the 19-18 victory over Scotland, with Leinster's Trevor Hogan filling the vacancy on the bench.
A late decision will be made at loosehead where Munster prop Marcus Horan will be given as much time as possible to recover from his calf strain.
Horan missed the Triple Crown celebrations at Murrayfield with the injury he suffered against England a fortnight earlier but he could be given the green light for Rome.
Ulster's Simon Best will continue in the front row should Horan fail to recover with Bryan Young deputising among the substitutes once again.
Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan revealed O'Connell will be sidelined for at least a month, forcing him to miss the European Cup quarter-final against Llanelli on March 30.
And while O'Sullivan admitted losing the hardman Lions second row was a major setback against the ever physical Italians, he backed O'Driscoll to prove a quality replacement.
He said: "Paul had an operation on his fractured thumb last night.
"We think he'll be out for four to five weeks, which will rule him out of the Heineken Cup quarter-final, but it gives him a chance of making the semi-finals.
"It wasn't until after the match that he felt sore. He saw a specialist yesterday and he decided last night it needed to be pinned. It's not a bad injury, it's a niggling one that isn't serious."
Horan will be given until Friday to prove his fitness.
O'Sullivan said: "It will be a close run thing for Marcus. He trained today but it's a grade one muscle tear.
"We'll give it until Friday before making the decision. If we know before then we'll announce it."
O'Sullivan revealed skipper Brian O'Driscoll, who will be leading Ireland for a record 37th time, has shown no ill-effects after falling heavily on his shoulder against Scotland.
He said: "Brian has been very lucky. I've looked at a tape of the game and he fell really awkwardly.
"Had he not had the shoulder pinned before in an operation it probably would have gone again, which is testament to the surgeon who did the operation.
"He was sore on Sunday morning but today he was in great shape."
G Dempsey (Leinster); S Horgan (Leinster), B O'Driscoll (Leinster, capt), G D'Arcy (Leinster), D Hickie (Leinster); R O'Gara (Munster), P Stringer (Munster); M Horan (Munster) or S Best (Ulster), R Best (Ulster), J Hayes (Munster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), M O'Driscoll (Munster), S Easterby (Llanelli Scarlets), D Wallace (Munster), D Leamy (Munster).
Replacements: J Flannery (Munster), S Best (Ulster) or B Young (Ulster), N Best (Ulster), T Hogan (Leinster), E Reddan (Wasps), P Wallace (Ulster), A Trimble (Ulster).