Super Rugby Semi-finalists the Cheetahs will have to make do without former Bok flanker Heinrich Brussow for the opening rounds of Super Rugby due to injury.
The flanker has a torn ligament injury in his which he sustained whilst playing in his first season for Japanese club Docomo Red Hurricanes.
Brussow was expected to be back for the start of the Super Rugby season but the Cheetahs will be on their injured list for three months while he has an operation on his injured toe in South Africa on Saturday.
The injury will be a blow for the Cheetahs as well as Brussow's Springbok aspirations as he has fallen out of favour with Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer and due to his commitment to his Japanese club he will miss the 2014 Currie Cup so he will have little chance to prove himself to the national selectors.
Brussow will miss the first six matches of Super Ruby and will only be available for selection after the Cheetahs tour of Australasia and bye in Rd.8.
The former Springbok flanker has been troubled by injury throughout his career and last year he had a shoulder injury which ruled him out for five months.
"It is a huge blow to lose Hein for the beginning of the season. He is a world-class player," Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske told Beeld.
"Fortunately, we have depth at loose forward."
Drotske added that he was confident that his loose forward depth which includes Lappies Labuschagne, Philip van der Walt, Frans Viljoen, Boom Prinsloo and youngster Jean Cook will be able to provide enough cover in Brussow's absence.
The Cheetahs play in the opening match of the Super Rugby season against the Lions at home in Bloemfontein. That match is followed by matches against the Bulls, Rebels, Reds, Hurricanes and Blues.