INJURED scrum-half Francois Hougaard could be back fit within a week, according to Worcester Warriors chief Gary Gold.

The influential 29-year-old returned to Sixways carrying injuries to his groin and hip on Monday after being released by South Africa.

Last season Warriors’ bosses were left up in arms when Hougaard arrived back from international duty with an undiagnosed injury.

He was forced to undergo shoulder surgery and faced several months on the sidelines.

But Gold insists there were “no dramas” this time around having received a scan and admitted the injury was not as bad as first feared.

Hougaard has been ruled out of Warriors’ clash against Saracens on Friday (7.45pm).

But talismanic number nine could be available for their trip to Bath a week on Saturday.

“Francois was carrying a groin injury which luckily wasn’t as serious as we thought,” Gold said.

“He will be out for a week or two - hopefully no longer than that."

Warriors have struggled without Hougaard who has played a crucial role in their efforts to avoid relegation in the last two seasons.

And the Sixways side have lost their first four games of this term while Hougaard has been playing for South Africa.

“I can’t comment on what happened when he returned (last year) as I wasn’t here,” said Gold who joined Worcester in January.

“He returned to us with a scan and the two doctors have been speaking and that’s how they have come up with the diagnosis, so there are no dramas.”

Gold also insisted Hougaard was in a good frame of mind despite being dropped by South Africa following their 57-0 thrashing to New Zealand.

“He is in good spirits,” Gold said.

“He is obviously very disappointed to have been left out of the South African team which I can completely understand.

“I think his in a happy place. It is good for him to be back.”