Brock James is set to miss the first four months of the Top 14 season as he recovers from a heart abnormality.
The Australian fly-half had been expected to miss two months when the problem was first revealed last month, however according to a report in La Montagne, his absence will much longer.
That would leave Clermont in a bind, with major injuries to Ludovic Radosavljevic and John Ulugia having already hit the squad.
Unlike at scrum-half and hooker though, les Jaunards have some depth in the position, with Camille Lopez and promising Argentinian fly-half Patricio Fernandez.
They are already on the look-out for medical jokers for Radosavljevic and Ulugia, but it is not clear whether they will seek a third to fill in for James.