Gloucester back-row man Jake Boer is coming to terms with the fact that he will miss Saturday's massive Zurich Wild Card final clash against Saracens at Twickenham (Sat 14 May, kick off 1pm).
The 29 year-old was getting back to his best form in recent weeks, but finished the win over Newcastle Falcons on Sunday with a broken hand.
Talking to www.gloucesterrugbyclub.com Boer said: "It's called a spiral fracture, and it happened in a tackle. Two of my fingers bent right back and snapped the bone in my hand."
The South African flanker, who has made 20 Zurich Premiership appearances this season, is expecting a recovery period of about a month to six weeks.
"It's very disappointing as the last few months have been tough, and we've just started to get back into a better rhythm. It's incredibly hard to deal with at the moment.
"I'll still be there though with the boys, even if it is only bringing on the water. Everyone still knows how important it is on Saturday.
"It's interesting that the game this weekend is between fifth and sixth. With what's at stake, in terms of Heineken Cup qualification, it's as important as it gets.
"We've haven't played well enough this season, and that shows with our final Premiership standing. This Club needs to be in the Heineken Cup, but there's no use just talking about it, we need to work hard.
"The fact is that is comes down to one game now. We've been in the Heineken Cup for the last few seasons, and we have the motivation to be there next season."
With Boer's absence, director of rugby Nigel Melville and coach Dean Ryan have back-row options with Adam Balding, Peter Buxton, James Forrester, Wales U21 captain James Merriman and Luke Narraway available. Andy Hazell is likely to be ruled out with a head injury.
The Gloucester medical staff will be monitoring Marcel Garvey, Terry Fanolua, Olly Morgan and Phil Vickery, who all missed the semi-final victory, throughout the week to get them ready for Saturday's big game.
Northampton away was the first Gloucester game under David Humphreys last season, but the Director of Rugby told the local media that the Cherry and Whites are a different proposition compared to 12 months ago and are looking forward to the challenge.
Having skippered Gloucester against the Barbarians last week, Nick Wood once again wore the captain's armband on Monday evening as Gloucester United kicked off their Aviva Premiership A League campaign with a bonus point win at Leicester.
Gloucester recorded a 32-20 win over La Rochelle on Thursday evening, and second row Jeremy Thrush was thrilled to pick up the victory on his first taste of a trip to France and the hostile atmosphere.
Gloucester were forced to battle for their 33-20 victory in La Rochelle on Thursday evening, something that centre Bill Meakes said that he and the squad were well prepared for as well as thanking the travelling support for the part they played.
Gloucester got off to a winning start in the European Rugby Challenge Cup last weekend, but Head Coach Laurie Fisher is expecting a much tougher challenge when the Cherry and Whites travel to La Rochelle for Thursday night's Round Two encounter.
Dan Thomas was a try scorer in the 14-62 defeat at the hands of the Barbarians on Tuesday evening, but told GRTV after the game that he'd really enjoyed taking on the Barbarians and locking horns with Ardie Savea at the breakdown.
After a long, hard battle to return to fitness, Henry Trinder made his long awaited comeback in the second half of the 23-10 win over Zebre on Saturday and admitted he was taken aback by the reception he got from the Kingsholm crowd.
After missing out on Gloucester's two recent European fixtures, Jonny May is back on the left wing for Friday evening's Aviva Premiership fixture at Northampton, while Mariano Galarza is named in the matchday squad for the first time this season.