GLOUCESTER Rugby will continue to investigate and monitor the fitness of England prop Phil Vickery, who has suffered a recurrence of a long-standing back injury.
The Kingsholm tighthead prop, who has been ruled out of England's squad for their opening RBS Six Nations meeting with Wales next month, has sustained a recurrence of previous back trouble due to a recurrent disc protrusion which is undergoing treatment at the moment.
Vickery suffered the set-back following Gloucester's 19-9 Guinness Premiership victory over Saracens and at present, the seriousness of the injury is not known.
Gloucester's head coach Dean Ryan said: "Phil has been exceptionally unlucky with injuries in the past but our medical team is in control of the situation and they will continue to investigate and treat the problem.
"The injury is being controlled by the right people but as yet there is no definite indication of how long he will be unavailable.
"Phil has suffered previous back trouble in the past and for that reason we need to ensure we follow the right procedures."
England head coach Andy Robinson added: "Phil Vickery was not considered for the game against Wales because of a back injury and in conjunction with his club Gloucester, we will monitor his progress in the coming weeks."
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
Matt Kvesic was a try scorer and recipient of the Man of the Match award in Sunday's 35-10 European Rugby Challenge Cup win over Zebre. He praised the Italian side for their spirited opposition and admitted that next week's return game will be a tough one.