The Melbourne Rebels have suffered a pre-season blow with the news that New Zealand import Jason Woodward has been ruled out for six weeks.
The young fullback injuring a tendon in his finger at Super Rugby pre-season training.
Rebels coach Damien Hill is confident the 22-year-old would be fit to return for Round Four of the Super Rugby season in early March.
The former NZ Under-20 representative said on Twitter that he would require an operation this week.
Woodward was expected to be named at fullback for the Rebels' trial game against NSW Waratahs in Hobart on Saturday, ahead of their season-opening clash with Western Force on February 15.
"Torn the tendon in my finger this morning at training, out 6 weeks apparently, op on thursday #gutted #lifecouldbeworse," Woodward said on Twitter.
The departure of fullback Mark Gerrard to Japan had opened the door for Woodward to settle into the run-on side before his pre-season setback.