Worcester's talismanic tighthead prop, Chris Horsman, is unlikely to play again this season after Warriors director of rugby Mike Ruddock ruled out the Wales international for another six weeks.
Horsman, who was on his way back from a long-term bicep injury when he hurt his ankle in training this month, has had surgery on the joint; with the Guinness Premiership campaign due to end against Newcastle Falcons on May 10, he is not likely to make it back in time.
That would mean the 31-year-old will have played for Worcester just once this term his comeback game after the World Cup that ended in defeat to Leeds Carnegie and endured a second injury-ravaged campaign in the last three.
Ruddock also revealed that scrum half Ryan Powell and flanker Netani Talei will be out for three weeks, having both sustained knee injuries. Talei has bruising, while Powell has also had surgery to repair a tear in the cartilage.
With Nick Runciman sidelined by a hamstring strain, that means England Under 20 international Johnny Arr will make it on to the replacements' bench for this weekend's local derby with Gloucester. Dom Feaunati, however, is back in contention for the A team game on Monday night at Leeds.
The blow to Horsman is a bitter one for both club and player: "Whether or not he will play again this season, I am not sure," said Ruddock. "The surgeon was very pleased with the operation, there was no complementary or significant damage to the ankle.
"I feel for Chris because he is a 100 per center. He was so keen to get back and play for us after the disappointment of Wales's World Cup effort. He is a really tough character and will want to come back better than before."
Perhaps just as disappointing to many Worcester supporters, Ruddock has revealed there will not be a mass influx of players into Sixways this summer with just 'one or two' positions requiring his attention.
The Welshman yesterday expressed his satisfaction with his squad and claimed the productivity of the club's academy had reduced the need to buy in big-name players. But Ruddock admitted the half back area is one he is looking at and confirmed his interest in Doncaster scrum half Ben Jones.
There is, however, no news about a new fly half, with Shane Drahm leaving at the end of the campaign and concerns over the suitability of Loki Crichton, James Brown and Joey Carlisle.
Ruddock had tried to lure former Leinster and Munsterman Eoghan Hickey from London Irish but the stand off has opted to remain at Madejski Stadium for next term. Although he didn't say as much, the Welshman will be keen to find a top-class replacement for Drahm, whose recent performances have highlighted the difference a quality midfielder makes.
"There are not going to be many more," Ruddock said. "We have a very good academy system that has already served us well with the likes of Matt Mullan, Tom Wood, Miles Benjamin, Chris Pennell, Joey Carlisle and Johnny Arr.
"We will not be bringing in huge amounts because we feel we have got a great back-up there and some of those players have got great potential. There are one or two areas we are still looking at but, at this stage, it is down to just one or two positions."
"We are definitely considering strengthening the half back areas. Loki Crichton got injured a few weeks ago and has been out for a month with concussion and Shane Drahm is leaving, so that shows you the importance of depth.
"Ben Jones is certainly a player we are looking at with a bit of interest. We have not signed him, we are looking around that area. He has played well for Doncaster over the last couple of seasons and Clive Griffiths has made me aware of his quality.
"There is no need to rush into these things. We want to make sure whoever we get is the right fit. We have put a lot of time into our team culture. When we see the right guy, we will move to bring him in."
Ruddock has already secured the services of Chris Latham and Hal Luscombe for the 2008-09 campaign.