Scarlets and Wales flanker James Davies is facing up to four months on the sidelines after rupturing ligaments in his knee.
Davies limped off early on during the Guinness PRO14 victory over Benetton earlier this month.
The Scarlets today confirmed that he won't play again until the new year.
He has ruptured his posterior cruciate ligament so he will be out for around three to four months. It is a massive blow. With two other sevens out it puts a real strain on the team. James is a quality player, not just with his work at the breakdown, but the way we play the game in attack, he is a big part of that. You lose that experience as well as his ability. He has become a leader in the group. He has been promoted in terms of that with the likes of John Barclay and Tadhg Beirne moving on. He will be sorely missed, but it is just one of those things. >
Davies made his Wales debut against Italy during the Six Nations and produced two man-of-the-match displays in the series win in Argentina in the summer.
He now faces a race to be fit for the start of the 2019 Six Nations.
It is also another setback for the Scarlets, who have been hit by injuries in the opening month of the campaign.
Already without the Aaron Shingler, who isn't expected to return until the new year, they have now lost another key member of the side that helped the West Walians reach the semi-finals of Europe last season.