Ulster have confirmed that Jared Payne has undergone surgery on his ruptured Achilles tendon and that the procedure was a success but the New Zealander is expected to be sidelined for the rest of the season.
The Kiwi full-back, who can also play at centre, was carried off during the first half of Ulster’s 23-12 defeat at the hands of Treviso earlier this month.
It comes as a bitter blow for both 26-year-old Payne, who was making only his third appearance for his new club, as well as Ulster, who are down in eighth place in the RaboDirect PRO12 table at present.
A club statement read: "Jared will be reviewed in two weeks' time after the wound has had some time to settle and heal.
"It is at this stage that we are likely to have a clearer view of the length of time required for rehabilitation."
Payne was Ulster’s big-name summer signing after joining the ranks at Ravenhill on a three-year deal but coach Brian McLaughlin can take solace in the fact that he will have his internationals, including Stephen Ferris and Ruan Pienaar, back at his disposal before the trip to Scarlets on October 29.