Things have gone from bad to worse recently with prop Gethin Jenkins ruled out of the entire campaign with a toe injury, fellow front row Adam Jones now ruled out for an initial eight weeks and outside Six Nations hope Gavin Henson sidelined for three weeks.
But if Gatland was thinking his luck had to change soon that hope has been spectacularly extinguished with news of Shanklin's injury.
"Unfortunately Tom has had a scan and needs another operation on that troublesome knee which will keep him out for three months," said Blues coach Dai Young.
"Most people saw against Aironi that he wasn't right out there and that's why he had to come off .The knee started to swell up straight after the game.
"We sent him for the scan and the medics thought he needed an operation to sort the problem out. The recuperation period is 12 weeks minimum.
"He should be back by the end of March, beginning of April, and has to get fit, so he may feature in some of our games at the end of the season.
"Obviously, I'm sure he wants to come back as soon as possible to stake a claim for the World Cup with Wales."