Springbok and Sharks centre Frans Steyn's Super Rugby season is over after he injured his leg playing against the Highlanders in Dunedin in New Zealand.
Steyn had emergency surgery on his leg after the Sharks 25-22 loss to the Highlanders as he was in sever pain.
The centre suffered a heavy blow to his lower left leg in the match but X-Rays showed that there was no break.
Steyn was however in such extreme pain that Dunedin doctors investigated further and diagnosed "compartment syndrome" which is a heavy heavy pressure build-up in a limb and he had surgery to release the pressure.
On Tuesday Steyn is expected to have further surgery in order to close the would and the Sharks hope that he will be well enough to fly home on Thursday this week.
The injury means that Steyn will play no further part in the Sharks Super Rugby campaign and he is only likely to be available for the Springboks in the second half of the Rugby Championship.
The Sharks have already been severely hit by injuries this season and Sharks coach John Plumtree revealed that they have almost entirely run out of centres after former Springbok Marius Joubert was injured in the VC quarter final.
"It is not just that we are getting so many injuries, it is the nature of them that is such a concern - they are serious and we are talking broken bones and torn ligaments," said dismayed coach John Plumtree.
Over the last couple of weeks the Sharks have lost Paul Jordaan with torn knee ligaments, scrumhalf Cobus Reinach with an ankle ligaments injury, and now hooker Craig Burden is also on his way home.
Burden pinched a nerve in his neck and is struggling to raise his arm so he has returned to South Africa and Sharks XV hooker Monde Hadebe has been called up as replacement.
One bit of good news for the Sharks is that Tera Mtembu's injury is not as bad as first thought and X-rays suggest that he has nothing more than bruising to the shoulder joint.
Plumtree said that it was likely that he would call over Springbok Willem Alberts to bolster the loose forwards after he made his comeback from a shoulder injury a fortnight ago and has played two VC matches.
"I am just waiting for a medical report to see if Willem is good to go," the coach said.
"He won't be ready to start a Super Rugby game just yet, but we can start getting him up to speed (by playing him off the bench)."
Plumtree says that they will not call for a replacement for Steyn yet and said that he could move JP Pietersen from wing to outside centre or start Piet Lindeque at centre.
The Sharks left Steyn behind in Dunedin and have flown to Brisbane where they face a must-win match against the Reds.
"They boys are sore, but positive that we can turn this tour around," Plumtree told The Mercury.
"We are obviously unhappy to leave New Zealand without a win, but feel we are playing better rugby than we were before departure.
"Our attacking game is coming along nicely."
After the Reds match the Sharks play the Western Force in Perth.