Leicester Tigers outside back Jonah Holmes has been ruled out of action until the new year after scans revealed he suffered a partial tear to his medial collateral ligament in last weekend’s Premiership fixture against Northampton Saints.
The Wales international is expected to be sidelined for six weeks, with an anticipated return in the early stages of 2020.
Speaking about the loss of Holmes, Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy admitted it was a “cruel blow" for the player and a testing time for the depth of the squad.
“We’re very disappointed for Jonah, he is a much valued member of this squad and it’s a cruel blow for him given the form he is in,” said Murphy.
“Since returning to the group part-way through the pre-season programme after spending the opening months of the summer with Wales, he has added a lot to this young group.
“His growth and improvement since joining Tigers has been huge and has seen him rise from a Championship player to an international."
Holmes joins fellow outside backs Telusa Veainu, Jordan Olowofela and Sam Aspland-Robinson on the injured list, which Murphy admits will test the depth of the squad.
“It adds some pressure to us at a tough time, specifically in the outside back area," he said.
“It’s a testing time for us and this is another test.
“I’m confident any youngster we call on to step up will do so and do so well.”
Murphy also provided an update on Veainu and Olowofela, who have both returned to training last week.
"Telusa's injury was an odd one, it ruled him out of anything at all while it settled down," said Murphy.
"But, thankfully, it's improved well and he got back into some sessions last week.
"We'll up his load this week and are confident he'll back in the mix in the coming weeks."
Murphy also said Olowofela, who was injured in the loss to London Irish in Round 4 of the Gallagher Premiership campaign, is back running and hopeful of a return before the new year.
"Jordan is ticking along nicely and has done very well with his rehab," Murphy said.
"It was great to see him back running last week and we're looking forward to adding him back into team sessions over the coming weeks and hopefully seeing him available to play again before the end of the year."