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Bristol's joy in winning their first Premiership match this season was cut short by the news Fiji centre Semi Radradra will be out of action for four months.
The Bears beat west country rivals Bath 25-20 on Friday before Bristol rugby director Pat Lam revealed Radradra is set for knee surgery after suffering an injury during the Olympic sevens tournament in Tokyo.
"Semi is going to have to have surgery on his knee," Lam said.
"We are looking at him having surgery on Monday, and he will end up with probably 16 weeks (out). It was in the semi-final in the Olympics.
"At the end of the day, there is a lot of rugby to be played when he gets back.
"We will certainly be on the lookout for a replacement to come in for that period of time when he is out.
"It is around his cartilage and ligament. The good news is that the surgery will fix it 100 percent," Lam added.
Premiership finalists in each of the last two seasons, Bristol had started this campaign with two defeats but a second-half rally at Ashton Gate saw them triumph from nine points down.
But the result meant Bath had lost their opening three league games this term.
First-half tries from Will Muir and Semesa Rokoduguni helped Bath to a 15-8 lead, with Bristol captain Steven Luatua pulling one back for the hosts.
Muir got his second after the restart to extend Bath's lead, but when Tom Ellis and Tom Dunn were sent to the sin-bin, Bristol were awarded a penalty try.
Jake Kerr then powered over to complete Bristol's comeback.
This match saw Bristol prop Kyle Sinckler became the first of England's British and Irish Lions in South Africa this year to make a Premiership return, in a match where Red Rose coach Eddie Jones looked on from the stands.
Sinckler, named man of the match, told BT Sport: "I can't just sit in meetings and train and not contribute. I wanted to put my body on the line.
"I know there was a mandatory rest time, but I pride myself on being virtuous and I try to be so committed in everything I do. It showed how much it means to myself and my teammates."
Bath boss Stuart Hooper was left frustrated, saying: "I am massively confused about some of the (officials') calls, which I will pick up in the week through the right channels, but I am so proud of the effort."