GLOUCESTER skipper Marco Bortolami is undergoing treatment in Italy for a strain to his posterior cruciate ligament and joint capsule of his left knee and was not considered for Italy's squad to face South Africa.
He will continue his rehabilitation for six weeks following consultation with specialist Andy Williams, the same doctor used by number eight James Forrester in the recovery process of his own knee injury last season.
Following an MRI scan last week, it was revealed that Bortolami does not require surgery and will continue with his rehabilitation accordingly.
"Although the injury is not as serious as an ACL or MCL it needed immediate attention in order to clear it up so I can resume with Gloucester for pre-season," Bortolami told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk.
"The injury was the main reason I could not finish the Guinness Premiership semi-final against Leicester and I am obviously extremely disappointed to miss out on selection to Italy's squad to face World Champions South Africa. I will continue my rehabilitation in Italy for the next few weeks before returning to Gloucester."
Bortolami will join both James Simpson-Daniel and Nick Wood in undergoing recovery this summer.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).