Ulster and Ireland flank Stephen Ferris has undergone surgery to repair a troublesome ankle tendon injury.
Ferris damaged the ankle in Ulster's PRO12 game against Edinburgh on November 2 and was unable to play in Ireland's recent internationals against South Africa, Fiji and Argentina.
In a statement Ulster said his condition "will be reviewed in the coming weeks to establish an accurate time period for recovery and to assess when he will fit to return to play."
Soon after going under the knife, the 27-year-old tweeted "And so another journey begins.."
"Operation went well and I'm on the road to recovery," he added later.
It still remains unclear whether Ferris will be available for Ireland's Six Nations campaign next year.