Captain Adriaan Strauss is unlikely to feature during the early part of the Bulls' Super Rugby campaign after undergoing back surgery on Thursday.
According to SuperSport.com, Strauss has been playing through the pain of a recurring back injury this year. Upon his return from the Springboks' doomed end-of-year tour of Europe, the 31-year-old went to see a specialist, who recommended an immediate operation.
The operation took place at a top hospital in Pretoria, but it remains unclear when Strauss will be discharged. According to Bulls team doctor Herman Rossouw, Strauss is expected to return to action at the end of February or the beginning of March next year.
Strauss, who officially retired from Test rugby at the end of the season, has committed himself to the Bulls for the foreseeable future.
The Bulls open their 2017 Super Rugby campaign against arch-rivals the Stormers at Newlands on 25 February.
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