Cape Town - The Lions on Tuesday confirmed that scrumhalf Ross Cronje will be sidelined for four weeks due to injury.
Cronje fractured a cheek bone as well as his nose in a warm-up game against the Bulls in Polokwane at the weekend.
He will undergo an operation on Wednesday, February 17 and will be out of action for four weeks.
The Lions open their Super Rugby campaign away to the Sunwolves in Tokyo on Saturday, February 27.
Faf de Klerk is now likely to wear the No 9 jersey at the start of the Lions' Super Rugby campaign, with Ricky Schroeder as back-up.