Bristol Rugby scrum-half Dwayne Peel has been ruled out for up to 16 weeks with a shoulder injury.
The former Wales international, 30, was hurt during the pre-season defeat by Cardiff Blues at Ashton Gate three weeks ago and had surgery on Wednesday.
Peel made 20 appearances as Bristol narrowly lost out on promotion to the Premiership in the Championship play-off final last season.
Will Cliff and Craig Hampson will act as cover for Peel during his absence.
Bristol los their opening Championship match of the season, 29-23, to Bedford Blues.