DRAGONS flanker Taine Basham will be out until March after having an operation on his fractured left forearm.

The 21-year-old from Talywain was forced off after an impressive start to the New Year's Day derby against the Scarlets.

Director of rugby Dean Ryan said straight after the match in Llanelli that it was a suspected broken arm and those fears have been realised.

The dynamic back rower will be out until the end of the current PRO14 campaign and start of the Rainbow Cup.

"I've had three myself, so it's a good eight to 10 weeks I would say," said Ryan. "It's displaced so will requite stabilisation, so a lot depends on Taine's ability to heal.

South Wales Argus:

"It's a blow for him because we all saw his ability last season. Like all players he hit a bit of a sticky patch when everybody is all over you in the second year but he was starting to come out the other end in really good form.

"He is still learning the game and he was getting better all the time, so a 10-week absence is a shame."

Basham joins fellow back rowers Ross Moriarty, Ollie Griffiths and Ben Fry on the sidelines but Lewis Evans is available for Saturday's derby against the Ospreys at Rodney Parade.

The stalwart had to isolate last weekend after coming into close contact with a community coronavirus transmission, a plight shared by centre Jamie Roberts.

The two experienced campaigners are back in the mix but the Dragons will be without Wales wing/full-back Jonah Holmes (concussion) and fly-half Sam Davies (calf).

South Wales Argus:

Holmes suffered a blow to the head against the Scarlets while playmaker Davies has been out for the last three games.

"It's a soleus muscles injury which lays below the calf," said Ryan. "Sam is feeling ready to go but it's us saying that it's not right and that we can't afford to risk him.

"We really Josh Lewis and I thought that he played well last weekend; him and Tavis Knoyle were a good combination.

"For some time we have been dependent on Rhodri Williams and Sam, so this is a time when we need to grow some people underneath.

"Part of that is around getting some competition for Sam – I am not in a rush to get him back on the field. That's not in Sam's best interests and it's not doing justice to where Josh is at the moment."

The Dragons had their weekly coronavirus tests on Monday and returned no positives ahead of their bid to avoid a derby whitewash.

"We are all clean but we've got to be really careful," said Ryan. "In the past we've got into false confidence but this just means that we are clean on Tuesday.

"Close contacts is our biggest challenge now with community transmissions from families.

"To have reported clear tests across the Christmas period is a relief because interaction with families was increased.

"But that doesn't stop our challenge; all the regions are aware it's a daily challenge."