Dragons hooker Rhys Thomas is set to miss three months of rugby with an ankle injury sustained against the Scarlets.
The thirty year-old fell awkwardly after trapping his leg in a ruck barely eight minutes into the game. Though it is unlikely Thomas will require surgery, he is set to miss seven Pro12 matches, four Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures and two LV=Cup clashes.
The Dragons have enjoyed a strong start to the season, recording home victories over Ulster and the Scarlets, and earning a losing bonus point in a narrow defeat away to Edinburgh. They currently sit fourth in the Pro12 table, but will travel to face Munster on Saturday without their first-choice hooker.
It is likely Thomas will be recovered and available for selection over the festive period, where his side face a double-header against Cardiff Blues on Boxing Day and New Year's Day respectively.
"It's a shame because Rhys was playing well and he was enjoying his rugby here," said Dragons boss Lyn Jones.
"He's one of those experienced characters who adds a lot on the pitch and on the training field as well.
"It is a blow but it's not the end of the world and he'll be surprised by how quickly the three months goes."
The likely beneficiary from Thomas' injury woes is Hugh Gustafason, but he will face competition for the number two jersey from Sam Parry, and Wales U20 starlet Elliot Dee.