Ulster director of rugby Les Kiss says they will "stick by" Marcell Coetzee after the South Africa flanker was ruled out for nine months following a further knee operation.
The 26-year-old forward returned to his homeland for treatment on a ligament problem which has restricted his appearances for Ulster to just five games - with just one outing this season - since joining the Irish province in 2016.
Ulster announced earlier on Friday that Coetzee had this week undergone what has been described as "revision surgery" on his left knee and that this has a recovery period of nine months.
That means Coetzee, whose contract runs until the 2018-19 season, is not likely to return to Ulster until next summer's pre-season.
Speaking after Ulster's 19-9 European Champions Cup win over Wasps on Friday night, Kiss scotched any notion that the injury-ravaged Coetzee would be cut loose.
He said: "We'll stick by him, he's here and he has a contract with us."