Hugh McMeniman. Photo: Getty Images
Western Force coach Michael Foley will take a no-risk approach with Hugh McMeniman as the star Wallaby recovers from a complicated shoulder injury.
"There's no pressure on the medical team. We have to make sure that shoulder is 100 per cent," Foley said on Wednesday.
McMeniman is set to miss the early rounds of the Super Rugby season after undergoing surgery in August.
The 30-year-old lock was plagued by shoulder issues for much of 2013, with his bid to play through the pain ending during the Wallabies' Rugby Championship.
McMeniman will miss the season opener against the Waratahs on February 23, but he could be a chance to return against the Brumbies on March 1 or the Rebels on March 8 if everything goes well.
But Foley said McMeniman's return wouldn't be rushed.
"It was a particularly serious shoulder injury. There were probably three injuries in one," he said.
"There were a couple of tears in there and also a break. Each one of those issues would have taken six months to rehab.
"It's been a complex situation.
"Hugh plays hard and he injures in interesting ways as a result of that."
With McMeniman sidelined for the early rounds, South African marquee Wilhelm Steenkamp and Sam Wykes are set to get the starting berths at lock.
The Force's pre-season will kick up a gear on Friday night when they take on Samoa A at Lark Hill Sports Complex in Rockingham.
The match will mark the return from injury of star centre Kyle Godwin (shoulder) and hooker Nathan Charles (knee).
McMeniman is the only big name missing from the Force's 34-man squad, which features new recruits Zack Holmes, Ian Prior, Luke Morahan, Ryan Louwrens, Marcel Brache, Brynard Stander and former Stormers, Bulls and Cheetahs enforcer Steenkamp.
"We've been going at it pretty hard during the pre-season, so we're all looking forward to getting on the field and actually testing some of the things we've been practising," Foley said.
The Force managed just four wins and a draw from 16 games last season, but Foley is confident his team will be able to get better results this season.