TheWallabies star flanker David Pocock has stressed he won't risk re-injury by rushing back to rugby following a successful knee reconstruction which is expected to sideline him for up to nine months.
Pocock had a two-hour operation in Brisbane to repair the anterior cruciate ligament he ruptured in the Brumbies' 35-6 Super Rugby win over NSW last weekend.
It's a massive blow for both the 24-year-old and the Wallabies ahead of the British and Irish Lions series.
Pocock opted against gambling on the radical LARS surgery which could have had him back in the frame to play the three-Test Lions series, kicking off on June 22.
Regarded alongside All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw as the best No.7 in the world, Pocock is now an outside chance for Australia's November tour of Europe.
The Waratahs flanker Michael Hooper, who started in Pocock's absence for much of last year, and Queensland's in-form Liam Gill are vying for the Wallabies No.7 jersey while Brumbies veteran George Smith is currently deemed ineligible due to his contract with Japanese club Suntory.