SCRUM-HALF Francois Hougaard and flanker Sam Lewis could be back playing for Worcester Warriors as early as next week.

The crocked duo were ruled out of Warriors’ trip to Gloucester on Saturday but director of rugby Alan Solomons has eased fears over the extent of their injuries.

Solomons said Hougaard’s knee issue sustained in last week’s victory over Harlequins was “not major” and he did not appear too concerned over Lewis’ hamstring problem either.

The pair are expected to be fit for Worcester’s crunch Gallagher Premiership clash with Northampton Saints at Sixways on Friday, December 21.

But Solomons said there was also a possibility Hougaard and Lewis could feature in their European Challenge Cup home battle against Pau a week on Saturday.

“Francois will certainly be back for the next block of Premiership games and possibly Pau at home,” Solomons said.

“We will just have to see how he tracks but he will fine.

“Sam has just got a tight hamstring.

“He will hopefully be alright for Pau at home but he will certainly be ready for that next block.”

With Hougaard sidelined Michael Heaney made his first league start for Warriors at Gloucester following his summer move from Doncaster Knights.

Experienced number nine Jonny Arr also came on for his 209th appearance for the club in the second half.

But Solomons admitted his team “missed” the know-how of Hougaard at Kingsholm as the Cherry and Whites swept to a 36-16 success.

“Francois’ knee cap just moved a little bit,” said Solomons on Hougaard’s injury.

“It is not major but it is very uncomfortable.

“It is impinging a little bit on the cartilage as I understand it.

“But it will settle down and will be fine. There was no way he could have played.

“You can’t get a braver player than Hougaard.

“But he just wasn’t not right.

“Without taking anything away from either Michael or Jonny, Francois’ physique and experience was missed."