Worcestershire Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes said "the search is already on" to find a quality overseas player replacement for the first half of the 2017 season after John Hastings was ruled out through injury.
And Rhodes remains optimistic Hastings can make an impact at New Road during the second half of next summer if the Australian all-rounder makes a full recovery from his patella tendon setback.
The 31-year-old suffered the setback whilst playing for Victoria in a Sheffield Shield clash against Tasmania and is undergoing surgery today (Friday).
Rhodes had pulled off a major coup in securing Hastings, who had previously played county cricket with Durham, for the entire season and has quickly stepped up his hunt to fill his shoes.
He said: "We hope the extent of the injury is just a chipped bone in his patella and with the surgery and rehab work, it should take things up to the half point of our season.
"We are seeking an alternative overseas bowler for the first half of the season, a quality replacement and the search is already on.
"These things happen in professional sport particularly if you are a bowler who is playing for 12 months of the year.
"It was terrific for us to sign John early in the winter so as to make sure our overseas player was sorted for 2017.
"John was also desperate to do well during the early part of our season but hopefully he will make an impact during the second half of the season should the operation go well."