Sale Sharks will be without World Cup winning South Africa scrum-half Faf de Klerk for about four months following surgery on a hip flexor injury.
The club have no plans to recruit cover, although Raffi Quirke’s England situation could alter that.
“Faf has seen the very best person,” director of rugby Alex Sanderson said.
“There was no choice, it needed an operation. We’re hoping it might be less than five months – maybe around four months, but we’ll see. I’m not happy about it but what can you do. We have to stay cheerful.”
Quirke’s dynamic form in De Klerk’s absence has prompted England boss Eddie Jones to bring him into a younger-looking pool for the Autumn Test schedule.
And Sanderson wants to offer opportunities to academy products Gus Warr and Nye Thomas, at least for the immediate absence period.
“We’re not looking at any short-term solutions at the moment,” Sanderson added.
“I’ve got huge faith in the lads we’ve got. It might be blind faith because they’re unproven at the top level. Right now, they need my backing and they’ve got it.”