Sharks fullback Aphelele Fassi's shoulder injury was bad enough to require surgery and will keep him out of action for the rest of the year.
That was confirmed by Sharks coach Sean Everitt at Loftus on Saturday after the Sharks fell to a 49-28 pre-season loss to the Bulls in what was the first televised rugby match in South Africa in six months.
The Sharks were flying high at the top of the Super Rugby log when the 2020 tournament was suspended towards the end of March as a result of the coronavirus, but they currently have a number of players who instrumental to that success unavailable.
Fassi is one of them, while wings Makazole Mapimpi (playing in Japan) and Sbu Nkosi (injured) are also currently unavailable for the Sharks.
It means that the Sharks are presently without their entire first-choice back three, but there is some good news on the injury front too with highly-rated loose forward James Venter - also massive for the Durbanites in Super Rugby this year - only rested this past weekend as a precaution.
"James got a knock on the head during training. It's not that bad, but we didn't want to risk him in a game like this," said Everitt.
"Henco Venter is also over his quad strain and we didn't want to risk him either.
"Madosh Tambwe and Boeta Chamberlain should be available for the Lions game and hopefully they will get through full training next week.
"Unfortunately, Aphelele Fassi has got some time on the sidelines and has had shoulder surgery. He could out for between two and three months."
On Saturday's result and performance, Everitt bemoaned his side's ability to win the aerial contests and to look after the ball on attack, but was confident that there was time to improve before Super Rugby Unlocked gets underway on October 10.
- Compiled by Lloyd Burnard