ANDY HAZELL, Gloucester's breakaway forward, will be out of action for three weeks after scans diagnosed a tear to ligaments in his knee.
The England international limped out of Gloucester's EDF Energy Cup victory over the Dragons on Friday and will now not feature until after Christmas.
It means he will certainly miss Gloucester's back-to-back Heineken Cup matches against Bourgoin and potentially the Guinness Premiership derby against Bristol.
"We have developed a squad so we can cope with injuries to key individuals like Andy," said head coach Dean Ryan. "With the very nature of how Andy plays the game, he will pick up injuries from time to time and we have to manage that.
"It is obviously a blow not to have a player of his energy in the squad for a couple of weeks but we have plenty of options available to us and now we need to concentrate on getting his injury right."
Hazell, who was named the South West rugby player of the year on Sunday night, has made six appearances in all competitions this season.
Speaking after the 55-0 win over CA Brive, Jonny May told GRTV that he's delighted that the team's hard work is starting to pay dividends but was equally happy for his friend and team mate, Charlie Sharples, on what was a big night for his fellow winger.
Speaking to the local media this week, David Humphreys insisted that Gloucester are looking forward to kicking off the new European Rugby Challenge Cup against Brive on Thursday evening, although an unfamiliar opponent and a five day turnaround will pose a challenge.
Director of Rugby David Humphreys felt that his Gloucester side put themselves in a position to put Saracens under real pressure at Allianz Park on Saturday, praising his team's commitment and defence, while admitting that a lack of accuracy hit their chances in the second half.
Speaking to the local media at Allianz Park, Tom Savage was disappointed after the defeat at Saracens, but claimed Gloucester did plenty of good things and could've taken more than a losing bonus point.