MIKE TINDALL underwent surgery on Saturday evening to have a pin inserted into the lower third of the tibia in his right leg following his fracture against Newcastle Falcons on Friday.
The Gloucester and England star suffered the undisplaced fracture in the second half of Gloucester's 19-12 defeat at Kingston Park and faces a minimum of 12 weeks' recovery time.
"An injury of this severity to one of our key individuals at this stage of the season is obviously a serious blow because Mike possesses all the characteristics you require during the play-offs," head coach Dean Ryan told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk
"He has big-game experience, natural leadership qualities and knows what it takes to win these one-off matches and we will miss his contribution."
Gloucester can also confirm that Karl Pryce faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines. The former rugby league winger re-fractured a bone in his left foot during his Guinness Premiership debut against Northampton last month and has had a pin inserted.
The 20-year-old will now focus on rehabilitation over the summer with a view to returning to first team action at the start of next season.
"We wish Mike and Karl all the very best in their recovery processes and will be right behind them," added Ryan.
Speaking to the local media this week, Richard Hibbard expressed his excitement ahead of the West Country derby and that there is an extra spring in the step of the Cherry and Whites ahead of the tough challenge.
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).