LUCKLESS Olly Morgan will not play at all this season – but Nigel Davies is still confident the full-back will make a full recovery from his problematic knee injury.
Morgan's wretched injury luck has taken another frustrating twist, as his knee surgery rehabilitation has stalled.
First an infection this pre-season meant he would be sidelined until at least November.
And now heavy rehabilitation going means he will not be ready to return at any point in this campaign.
The 27-year-old sustained torn knee ligaments in January's 21-15 Premiership defeat at Worcester and is now staring down the barrel of 18 months out of action.
But Gloucester boss Davies backed Morgan to be fit for the start of next term, pledging the Cherry and Whites will do everything in their power to make that happen.
"Olly won't play this season," Davies conceded. "He's walking and soon he'll be jogging, and then it's a matter of identifying how much movement he's got in the knee, because that will be crucial in terms of being able to reach top-end pace at some stage.
"But we're taking things steady, and we're putting together a plan right now, in terms of phasing his key stages of recovery.
"It's been a long time and it's been just heartache for him, but he's handling it really well, and we've supported him too.
"But we're confident he'll come out of it, come back and play again."
The news on Morgan is a fresh blow for Gloucester, with Alex Brown ruled out until at least the end of the season and James Simpson-Daniel sidelined for three to four months.
Morgan's stuttering recovery is bound to raise fears for his long-term future – but Davies said there is no reason to worry.
Explaining Morgan has not had any specific fresh problem, Davies said it is simple slow progress that has hampered the accomplished full-back's recovery.
He continued: "Based on past experiences we can try to predict when these guys will come back, but no one could have foreseen that infection he had that set him back a little bit.
"There are some variable factors, and some key points we have to ensure he gets through before we move his rehabilitation onto the next stage.
"I really feel for him, but we'll continue to support him in every way possible, and give him every opportunity to make a full recovery.
"We're still hopeful that he'll get back, and there are key stages that he has to reach in his recovery to be able to do that, and that's where we are right now.
"He's reached a few of those, but he's not quite reached several others.
"But we are hopeful now that he can be back in time for pre-season, and be ready for next season, and that's what we're working towards.
"This is their livelihood and when it's taken away, even temporarily, it's very frustrating.
"But hopefully there's light at the end of the tunnel for Olly."
There is better news on other injury fronts for Gloucester meanwhile, with hooker Darren Dawidiuk back in full training and in contention to face Saracens on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).
Gloucester take on second-placed Saracens at Vicarage Road, with Truro-born 25-year-old Dawidiuk ready to return after a lengthy knee-ligament strain lay-off.
Davies remains hopeful Australian hooker Huia Edmonds will be available too – but will have to wait until the end of the week to find out.
Edmonds was knocked out in last week's 29-3 Sale victory, and now needs to pass all the relevant cognitive testing before he is cleared to play.
Davies added: "Huia's already well under way in that process, and he's feeling fine.
"The only concern we have is that we probably won't get a decision on him until Thursday or Friday this week, so that could be an issue.
"Darren's fit again, he's trained well, we had a good, physical session on Tuesday and he came through that very well, so he could well be in the mix this week."