Cape Town - For the second time in two years, Stormers captain Schalk Burger has been sidelined by a knee injury in the opening match of their Super Rugby campaign.
On Saturday, Burger, who is widely tipped to to take over the Springbok captaincy from the retired John Smit was driven off the field on a motorised buggy with a knee injury early in the first half of their opening 2012 Super Rugby match against the Hurricanes at Newlands.
Last year, at the same venue, Burger was taken off with a knee injury at Newlands where the Stormers were playing their first 2011 Super Rugby match against the Lions. Burger was taken to a nearby medical centre where scans showed that he had torn ligaments in his knee.
Coach Allister Coetzee said he expected Burger to be out for a period from four to six weeks.
"Unfortunately we've lost the captain (for the next few matches)," said Coetzee. "He's torn his medial ligaments so he'll be out for four to six weeks.
Burger was scheduled to see a specialist on Sunday.
There was a measure of cheer in the Stormers dressing room afterwards when they heard the news that flyhalf Peter Grant, who no longer has club commitments in Japan, was on his way back to Cape Town.
It's unlikely that Grant will be taken up in the side to play the Sharks at Newlands next Saturday.
"First I have to do a medical assessment to find out of Grant has any niggles," said Coetzee. "And I need to be fair to him and allow him to settle down after the trip from Japan. I not saying he won't be considered but there are many factors that I'll have to consider before I make a selection call."