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.
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
Speaking to the local media this week, Scottish centre Matt Scott spoke of the squad's determination to put in a big home performance against Harlequins, with vital points up for grabs in the hunt for a Top Six spot this Saturday (KO 3pm)
Looking ahead to Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Harlequins (kick off 3pm), Head Coach Laurie Fisher told the local media that Gloucester will need to be on top of their game in a match which has big implications in terms of top six ambitions.
A big few days for the Gloucester-Hartpury Women side. First came the news that the team will compete in Women's Super Rugby next season, and on Saturday the team will play Worcester Ladies IIs at Kingsholm. Centre Hannah Jones and wing Michelle Ruddock spoke to GRTV this week to reflect on events.
Missing so many starters, and up against a team fighting for their Premiership existence, Gloucester did what had to be done at Ashton Gate on Friday evening battling their way to a 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol Rugby.