South Africa and Stormers lock Eben Etzebeth will miss the start of the Super Rugby campaign after being ruled out for between six and eight weeks with ankle ligament damage.
The 21-year-old, who has won 11 caps for the Springboks, limped off during the first half of his club's 57-0 pre-season win over the Regent Boland Cavaliers on Saturday, with a subsequent scan revealing the extent of the problem.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee told thestormers.co.za: "It's unfortunate for the team and Eben, but like I said after the match yesterday injuries are part and parcel of the game.
"We are fortunate to have players in our squad who can step in and fill that role and that's our focus for now - to find a player to fill that number four lock role.
"At the same time, however, our medical team will also ensure that Eben recovers well and comes back strongly for the DHL Stormers."
The Stormers begin their 2013 Super Rugby season against the Bulls in Pretoria on Friday, February 22.