Exeter Chiefs hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie is having a scan tonight on his injured knee and is set for an extended spell on the sidelines.
The 20-year-old was forced off in the first half of the Chiefs' 51-7 pre-season win against Bristol on Saturday.
And with brother and fellow hooker Tom out following a cartilage operation and Greg Bateman struggling with a calf injury, head coach Rob Baxter is looking into the possibility of bringing a player in on loan.
Luke Cowan-Dickie, who made the switch to hooker from prop last season, was tipped to make a big impact this term but is expected to be out for some time.
Baxter said: “The first indications are that it’s relatively serious. He’s having a scan at 7pm tonight so we’ll have a much clearer indication this evening.
“Even with the best-case scenario, we’re not anticipating him being fit for quite a few weeks. Depending on the scan that may well extend further.”
With three players currently unavailable, Jack Yeandle and Chris Whitehead are the only fit hookers in the squad.
With two needed in every match day squad, Baxter is understandably keen to being in temporary reinforcements.
“The hooker situation is a little disappointed with us having three down now,” he said.
“That’s how it goes and we’ll be looking to see if we can get someone in on loan for a month or so while Greg and Tom Cowan-Dickie get fit.”