Ospreys flanker James King has undergone plastic surgery to save his right ear after it was virtually "torn off his head" in an accident against Cardiff Blues.
King, 21, suffered the injury in a collision with Blues back-rower Xavier Rush after six minutes of his side's
"It was just hanging off by a thread," said Ospreys coach Sean Holley.
"He had emergency surgery on it and, fortunately, they saved his ear."
Ospreys head coach
“James was OK but he was more worried about what his girlfriend was going to think”
King now faces four weeks on the sidelines, a further blow for an Ospreys pack already without the suspended Ian Gough and injured trio
Alun Wyn Jones
, James Goode and Ian Evans.
"It was a very nasty injury, he literally tore the ear off the side of his head," Holley added.
"James was OK but he was more worried about what his girlfriend was going to think.
"He said he didn't really feel a lot of pain as the adrenalin took over, he just felt it flapping and, to his credit, he held it on and carried on in the defensive line!
"He is back in training and a bit embarrassed about his bandage.
"But he is thankful that they managed to save his ear and he now realises the seriousness of it."
The former Wales Under-20 international was taken to the Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery at Morriston Hospital where surgeons could perform the ear-saving operation after Ospreys, second in the Pro12 league, secured their first win in four games.
"They've given him a four-week window to return," said head coach Holley.
"We'll have to wait and see how it knits.
"It is a real shame because he is a huge prospect for us, it was a real chance for him to play in some big games."