Newcastle Falcons centre Joe Shaw will miss the rest of the current season, as he prepares to undergo knee surgery.
The 28-year-old, who had only recently signed a two-year contract extension with the Falcons, will go under the knife after sustaining the injury in the Guinness Premiership clash against Bristol last month.
Acting director of rugby, Steve Bates, said: "It is a blow to lose any player at this stage of the campaign, and Joe is obviously bitterly disappointed.
"But he will be back next season, and can now start his rehab with that in mind."
Shaw made ten appearances for the Falcons this season, scoring one try, as well as captaining the Falcons Development Team to second place in the Guinness A League where they went all season unbeaten at home.
The Falcons have a shot at European Challenge Cup glory but first must beat Worcester Warriors in the semi-final on Friday, 25 April. (20:00).
The directors of ERC voted unanimously at a Board meeting to postpone all decisions including the release of further instalments of ERC's distributable central revenues to the six shareholder countries until 19 February next when the Board will meet again to reconsider the issue.