France captain Thierry Dusautoir has been ruled out of the Six Nations with a serious arm injury.
Flanker Dusautoir suffered a ruptured tendon in his biceps in Toulouse's Heineken Cup win over Zebre and is expected to at least four months.
The 32-year-old, who has 65 caps, managed to make it through the entire game but scans on Sunday revealed the severity of the injury.
"We feared it was a serious injury," said coach Guy Noves. "We hoped that the scans wouldn't confirm the original diagnosis.
"His injury adds to a growing list of serious injuries to key players. That makes it five to six players of the highest quality that we have lost."
Dusautoir would have been one of coach Philippe Saint-Andre's key players as Les Bleus attempt to put right the wrongs of last season, when they took home the wooden spoon.
In Dusautoir's absence, lock Pascal Pape is expected to take over the captaincy when France open their campaign against England in Paris on February 1.
There was another blow for Saint-Andre when Perpignan winger Sofiane Guitoune was seriously injured in their 36-18 defeat by Gloucester on Sunday.
Guitoune ruptured his Achilles and manager Marc Delpoux said he would be undergoing surgery on Monday.
Saint-Andre's squad - now minus Dusautoir and Guitoune - will meet up for a training camp at Canet-en-Roussillon later on Sunday.