SOUTHERN Kings rugby hooker Hannes Franklin is on the mend after a knee operation.
Franklin, however, will be out for at least four to six months which means he will miss a sizeable chunk of the Super Rugby season.
The untimely knee injury forced the Kings to call Boetie Britz into their Super Rugby training squad.
Britz, had been part of the larger training squad before the break last year.
The frontrunner for the hooking berth in the Kings' opening Super Rugby game against the Western Force in Port Elizabeth on February 23 is expected to be former Lions hooker Bandise Maku.
However, he can expect stiff competition for a place in the starting line-up from Frenchmen Virgile Lacombe and Edgar Marutlulle.
Kings director of rugby, Alan Solomons, said Franklin, who went in for surgery on Thursday last week after tearing his medial collateral ligament during practice, was recovering well.
"The surgeon was able to reattach the torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee and was also able to repair a slight tear in the meniscus," he said.
"The surgery went well and the overall procedure has given us a good result."