Bulls and Springboks star Jesse Kriel will miss six to eight weeks of Super Rugby with an ankle injury that requires surgery.
Kriel, who has been linked this week with a post-Rugby World Cup move to Japanese Top League club Canon Eagles, who are coached by former Springboks coach Allister Coetzee, limped out of the Bulls' 24-23 defeat by the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday, and the Pretoria-based franchse has confirmed he will now go under the knife.
"Jesse Kriel has torn a ligament in his ankle and will undergo surgery later this week," Bulls team doctor Herman Rossouw was quoted as saying on the club website.
"He is expected to be out for a period of six to eight weeks."
The injury may also mean that Kriel will not feature for the Springboks in the Rugby Championship.
Divan Rossouw and Jade Stighling will also miss the home Super Rugby fixture against the New South Wales Waratahs.
The wingers have not been passed fit to play after each suffered a concussion at Newlands.
Burger Odendaal will be eligible, however. The centre has been cleared to play by a specialist after sustaining an eye injury against the Stormers.
Lock Eli Snyman and loose forward Tim Agaba are recovering well from their injuries, and will fall into selected unit sessions this week.
Lock Jason Jenkins is still struggling with his pectoral injury and will not be available for selection this weekend.