Cheetahs flank Heinrich Brüssow is set to miss the opening rounds of the 2014 Super Rugby season after tearing a ligament in his toe.
The Springbok flank reportedly sustained the injury while playing his first season for Japanese club Docomo Red Hurricanes and is expected to be sidelined for three months.
The 27-year-old openside will undergo surgery in South Africa on Saturday and is set to miss the first six rounds of the Super Rugby season but should be fit in time for the Cheetahs' overseas tour.
"It is a huge blow to lose Hein for the beginning of the season. He is a world-class player," coach Naka Drotske told Die Burger.
"Fortunately, we have depth at loose forward."
The Cheetahs have Lappies Labuschagne, Philip van der Walt, Frans Viljoen, Boom Prinsloo and talented youngster Jean Cook as their loose forwards this season.