Sydney- Wallaby back Digby Ioane is to undergo surgery on his left shoulder and could be out of rugby for up to six months, the Reds said on Thursday.
The powerful Ioane, 23, has impressed for the struggling Reds this Super 14 season since playing in two Tests and against the Barbarians on last year's Wallabies' tour of Europe.
Reds coach Phil Mooney said Ioane decided to have an operation after a specialist's examination on Wednesday.
"It's a real blow for Digby, who I'm sure would have walked into the Wallaby side this year on the back of his exceptional performances for the Reds at outside-centre this season," Mooney said.
"The news also came as a shock to Digby as he has never faced such a long period on the sidelines."
Mooney said Ioane suffered the injury against the Lions in Brisbane on April 18 but played on until he aggravated it against the Brumbies a fortnight later.
"When it didn't improve we sought specialist advice and, after consultation, we decided the best course for Digby was to have the operation done as soon as possible," Mooney said.