England international James Simpson-Daniel could be playing again by the end of January after undergoing shoulder surgery.
The news is better than initially expected, both for Gloucester's coaching staff and England boss Andy Robinson, with Simpson-Daniel now facing a lay-off of three to four weeks.
"We are relieved that the operation was a success," said Gloucester rugby director Nigel Melville.
"Although there was damage to the shoulder, it isn't as bad as it could have been. The good news it that we've got a relatively short timescale to get him back into first-team action."
Wing Simpson-Daniel, capped six times, has seen his career badly affected by injuries and illness, but he could challenge strongly for an England RBS 6 Nations starting place if he makes a successful comeback in Gloucester colours.
England flanker James Haskell insists he will be pushing as hard as possible to be back from a toe injury in time to make his case for a spot in Eddie Jones' side looking to defend their RBS 6 Nations title next year.