World Cup-winning Springbok flyhalf Andrew James has undergone a surgical procedure which will see him miss the start of the Super Rugby season.
James, better known by his alias, Butch, joined the Sharks from the Lions in the off-season.
However, the 34-year-old has been conspicuous by his absence from the Durban-based franchise's pre-season action in the last few weeks, after he started training with them in January.
Sharks coach John Plumtree confirmed that James, who has a history of knee injuries, will miss the start of the 2012 finalists' Super Rugby campaign.
"Butch had a scope done on his knee two weeks ago to remove loose bodies," Plumtree said on the Sharks' website.
"It's not serious and he is expected to be ready in a fortnight."
James, who was a member of the team that won the 2007 World Cup, has played in 42 Tests and has 69 Super Rugby caps to his credit. He has also made over 120 first class appearances for the Sharks, Bath and Lions.
* Meanwhile the Sharks will look to put in a polished performance when they take on the Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday in their second pre-season outing, as they finalise their preparations ahead of next week's Super Rugby opener against the Cheetahs.
Their first warm-up game was against the Leopards in Pietermaritzburg last Friday and according to Sharks assistant coach Grant Bashford, there was some good and some bad to take out of that game.
"The downside of that match was the injuries we sustained and we were hoping for a tougher hit-out than we had. But the positive was scoring 11 tries and we got some of our structures going which we had wanted to do in this game," Bashford said on the Sharks website.
"Defensively we were pretty good as well, so the game served its purpose."
He said that the injuries do leave a sour taste in the mouth.
"Losing two players [captain Keegan Daniel with a serious knee injury for six to eight weeks and centre Tim Whitehead with a fractured arm, six weeks] is tough, especially when one is your captain.
"Injuries are part and parcel of the game, but it is always disappointing when they occur and you lose players.
"However, we are always of the opinion in these circumstances - when we lose someone - it means an opportunity for someone else and we certainly feel that one of our strengths for our campaign this year is our depth. So this setback means we are going to be tested earlier, rather than later."
Looking at Friday's match, he explained that they anticipate a much more competitive game from the Pumas.
"The Leopards had key players that weren't available to them, I believe many of their players were involved in the Varsity Cup tournament so they were depleted from a personnel perspective, but the Pumas away should be a different kettle of fish, they have a tough pack and hopefully it will be a harder hit-out."
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