Sam Warburton has undergone surgery in an attempt to resolve an ongoing knee issue.
A recovery period of four to six months is anticipated, ruling the Cardiff Blues player out of the Six Nations and possibly for the remainder of the season.
Already sidelined with a neck injury both Cardiff Blues and Wales believe now is the best time to try and fully heal the troubled knee.
In a statement Warburton said: “In close consultation with the WRU and Cardiff we decided it would be proactive to have surgery now on a knee injury and I’m looking forward to returning to action fully fit.”
The flanker has not been seen in action since the Lions’ third Test against New Zealand and it was hoped he would return in the New Year for his club before playing in the Six Nations.
Warburton has been plagued by injuries in the past couple of seasons and joins Jonathan Davies and Jake Ball on a growing Welsh injury list.