Henry Paul will miss the remainder of Gloucester's Premiership season after damaging the medial ligament in his knee while playing for England at the Rugby Sevens World Cup in Hong Kong.
Paul sat out last Saturday's victory over London Irish and Gloucester medics have confirmed he miss the Cherry and Whites' three remaining league matches and any post-season play-offs.
Paul will have his injury assessed by a specialist next week, when a decision will be made as to whether he needs an operation.
The news left Gloucester's director of rugby Nigel Melville downbeat, despite the positive news that Duncan McRae could return for next weekend's Premiership clash with Leeds.
''It's a set-back that in some ways sums up our season,'' said Melville.
''We have just had so many people injured at crucial periods, but you only have to look around the Premiership to see that other clubs are in a similar situation.''
Paul stressed he would be ''right behind the team'' as they push to overhaul Sale in the final three weeks of the regular season and snatch third place.
The competition is fierce with Bath and Saracens both ahead of them, but Gloucester's hopes received a lift with the news that McRae is in line for a possible return to first team action.
The Australian has suffered an injury-plagued season and has been out since the beginning of February with a knee injury.