Italy and Stade Français Paris have been dealt a major blow with a serious right knee ligament injury suffered by Sergio Parisse that means the Italian captain and No 8 could be out of action for up to six months.
Parisse was injured during an Italian training session on Thursday (26 November) and the MRI has revealed torn cruciate knee ligaments, a hammer blow for Max Guazzini's team as Parisse is one of the key squad players and was back from a disciplinary suspension after missing the first nine Rounds of the Top 14 Orange.
But now the 26-year-old will miss the remainder of the Heineken Cup Pool stages with Stade Français Paris - one of only four teams able to boast two from two after the opening rounds of matches en route to the 15th Heineken Cup final being staged at Stade de France on Saturday, 22 May, 2010.
"The clinical and instrumental exams showed an instability in the front of the knee which will be re-evaluated in the coming days," explained Italy team doctor Roberto Pozzoni.
"At the moment we're not ruling out the possibility of surgical intervention with a recuperation period of between 120 and 180 days."
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.