LUCKLESS Jimmy Cowan will miss the rest of the season with knee ligament damage.
The All Black scrum-half is desperate to fight back to fitness before the end of the current campaign.
But Gloucester boss Nigel Davies expects his high-profile half-back to be out of action for six months.
World Cup winner Cowan turned his knee as studs caught in the heavy Franklin’s Gardens pitch during Gloucester’s 27-11 victory at Northampton on Saturday.
The ex-Southland and Otago Higlanders scrum-half landed awkwardly after tracking back onto a loose ball – and ended up leaving Northampton on crutches.
Gloucester rugby director Davies said Cowan remains in high spirits and is intent on finding fitness before this season is out.
While Gloucester’s medics will try everything in their power to make that happen, Davies conceded the chances are slim.
After 15 appearances since he arrived in January, the 30-year-old’s first Kingsholm season is at an end, and Davies admits it is shocking fortune.
The Gloucester boss explained: “It’s ligament damage and we’re probably looking at five to six months.
“He’s very positive in fairness to him, he’s a real competitor.
“He just wants to play and he’s going to do everything he can to get back as quick as he can.
“We’re anticipating him not being available again this season.
“We’re planning for the worst but hoping for better than that and he’ll be battling to be back before the end of the season.
“It’s horrible luck for Jimmy, and we all hope he can make a swift recovery.”