Ulster and Ireland wing Andrew Trimble will be sidelined for the remainder of the season after suffering a recurrence of a toe injury.
The 30-year-old had surgery on the injury, which he suffered against Glasgow Warriors in October, in London on Thursday.
Trimble is expected to recover in time for next season and for the World Cup in England, which starts in September.
But he will play no part in Ireland's defence of their Six Nations title.
He also missed Ireland's internationals in November because of the injury.
Trimble was forced off late in the Glasgow game with ligament damage to the toe and Ulster said they expected him to be out for a "period of months".
He went on to miss Ulster's disappointing European Champions Cup campaign and he will be absent as the Kingspan Stadium team chase the Pro12 title.