Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter has spoken of his disappointment after it was confirmed that prop Brett Sturgess is set for a spell on the sidelines.
The 31-year-old forward broke his arm during last Saturday's 12-12 Aviva Premiership draw with Bath at Sandy Park and faces the prospect of being out for up to 12 weeks.
It is an untimely blow for the player, who suffered a similar injury to his other arm last season. He had an operation to repair the latest damage on New Year's Eve.
Baxter said: "Sturge has broken his arm and he has had an operation. It's a similar injury to the one he suffered last time, but the other arm this time. He's likely to be out for eight, ten or 12 weeks – it's a relatively serious injury."
Sturgess – who recently agreed a new two-year deal with the Devon club – has been a near ever-present in the number one jersey for the Chiefs this season. However, Baxter expects him to come back fighting and feature in the final weeks of the campaign. He added: "Sturge is one of these guys who does do his rehab absolutely flat out. I think the physios are already booking themselves in for the long appointments they tend to have with him.
"It's unfortunate for Sturge because the season has been going well for him, but it's an opportunity for someone else. Ben Moon went on and did well, Carl Rimmer came to us originally as a loosehead, so there's an opportunity there for him to get some more time in his preferred position.
"Luke Cowan-Dickie is playing very well down at Plymouth at loosehead, so we've got options. We do feel we've got a strong squad here, so at times like this the guys have got to stand up and come in and do a good job for us."