Exeter Chiefs hooker Chris Whitehead requires neck surgery and has been ruled out of action for the next three months.
Whitehead, who recently signed a new two-year contract with the Premiership club, is due to undergo surgery later this week.
"Chris has a relatively serious injury and is going to have an operation on Tuesday and is going to be out for ten to 12 weeks," said Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter.
"He has an on-going neck problem, a typical hooker's problem, a bit of a degenerative issue, which we ultimately have to make a decision on. It is either a case of letting it get worse or deal with it now.
"Our other three hookers - Neil Clark, Simon Alcott and Jack Yeandle - are fit and raring to go, so we felt the time was right now.
"Chris is going to be with us for a long time. We don't want to keep playing him when the injury is worsening, and end up breaking him.
"We feel it is right to get him treated now, get him 100 percent, and he should be back before the end of the season," added the Exeter boss.