Scans conducted in France suggest the muscle ligament tear on his clavicle is of a serious grade, and there is the possibility that an injury that often repairs itself might require an operation in Durban.
The initial feeling is that the 25-year-old is out for at least six weeks, possibly eight, and with the Sharks’ Super Rugby kick-off set for February 27, against the Kings in Port Elizabeth, they could be without one of their most influential players for the opening month of the tournament.
Flanker Marcell Coetzee, the vice-captain, will presumably take over the captaincy.
The No 10 jersey will now go to Joe Pietersen, who will do a more than adequate job, but is primarily a fullback.
Last season the Sharks had Lionel Cronje at 10 for much of the campaign, but he has fallen from favour and has left the franchise, while Fred Zeilinga – another former back-up to Lambie – has now been at the Cheetahs for some time.
Lambie was not the only casualty from the win over Toulon. Openside flank Francois Kleinhans tore a bicep and will be out for an undisclosed, but lengthy, time.
Loose forward is a position in which the Sharks are not short of depth, and it is fortuitous that their reserves were lately strengthened by the return from Japan of former captain Keegan Daniel.
The Sharks are not similarly blessed at second row, where they suffered two injury blows against Toulon.
Ruan Botha, recruited from Western Province, has a hip problem and will undergo a scan, and his replacement on the night, Giant Mtandya, promptly fractured a cheekbone.
The Sharks have Stephan Lewies just about over rehabilitation from a knee injury, but he is going to require gradual re-introduction to rugby.
Jacques Potgieter can play lock if required, and in the squad in France is David McDuling, the Australian who has played for Queensland.
But the Sharks’ second row is looking vulnerable and there might well be a recall for Marco Wentzel, who has been released by the Sharks but is still training with them.
The Sharks play Toulouse on Thursday night in a match that will be televised on SuperSport from 9.40pm. - The Mercury
Original source: Lambie out for at least six weeks