Injury-plagued blindside flanker Stephen Ferris has been ruled out of the British and Irish Lions tour to Australia due to ankle surgery.
Ferris' club, Ulster, have confirmed the 27-year-old Ireland international will be on the sidelines for three months having had surgery on a troublesome ankle tendon that has kept him out of action since November last year.
The setback continues Ferris' bad luck with injuries as the Irish back-rower was selected in the British and Irish Lions squad to tour South Africa in 2009 only to injure his medial collateral ligament in training before the first Test.
"Ferris was reviewed last week as part of his ongoing rehabilitation from an ankle injury that he sustained in November," a statement on Ulster's website read.
"During that review, it was discovered that although he had made excellent progress, some minor issues still remained.
"Those issues included function at the ankle continuing to cause pain.
"Having considered all specialist medical opinions given, Stephen underwent further ankle surgery in Belfast yesterday, during which fragments of bone were removed.
"Stephen will be out of rugby for another three months but following this period is expected to make a full and complete return to the game."
Ferris has not played for Ireland since they lost 30-9 to England in their final game of last year's Six Nations but would have been considered a decent chance to make the Lions tour of Australia if he could have regained his fitness in time.