Gloucester Rugby have confirmed that lock Tom Savage will miss 10 weeks of action following a knee injury.
The 29-year-old sustained the blow during the pre-season friendly against Ulster and will now undergo a lengthy rehabilitation period.
Gloucester head coach Johan Ackermann was disappointed with the news but also expressed relief that the injury is not as bad as it was initially thought.
“It’s about eight to 10 weeks,” Ackermann told Gloucester Live.
“I know it’s not ideal but we’ll take it any day because in the beginning there was fear it could be six to nine months.
“Luckily it’s not so knowing Sav he’ll be back sooner and he’ll be ready to go not long from now.”
Apart from Savage, the Cherry and Whites will also miss new signings Ruan Dreyer, Jaco Kriel and Tom Marshall for the initial part of the season.
Dreyer picked a niggle during the pre-season and Kriel will be sidelined for four to six weeks as he underwent a second operation on his shoulder.
Gloucester will face Northampton Saints in the opening round of the Gallagher Premiership on 1st September at Kingsholm.