Ireland and Ulster utility back Jared Payne has had an operation on his foot and will be sidelined for the next two months.
Payne, who was ruled out of the Rugby World Cup shortly before their Pool D clash with France, is set to miss Ulster's first four matches in the Champions Cup as well as their ongoing PRO12 fixtures until Christmas.
“Jared had an operation," Ulster coach Neil Doak told RTE Sport.
"There’s no definitive return point at this stage, like most things with bones.
“And there could be some structural damage down there, who knows? It could be eight weeks, he’s had his surgery and he’s on the road to recovery.”