Exeter Chiefs and England centre Henry Slade will be out for about four months soon after undergoing surgery on his broken leg and broken ankle.
It implies Slade is likely to miss the Six Nations, which starts in February.
The 22-year-old, capped twice by England, was hurt during Exeter’s Premiership win more than Wasps on Saturday.
“It was a quite main operation but undoubtedly not one we do not count on him to make a complete recovery from,” head coach Rob Baxter told the club internet site.
“We are surely not pencilling in any date for Henry’s return because we know it is extended term.
“We will commence talking about a return date in eight to 10 weeks’ time when we know a bit far more – it will take a bit of time though and a lengthy rehab method.”
Meanwhile, Chiefs have announced that back-rower Dave Ewers, 25, will miss “a fair couple of weeks” soon after suffering a knee injury.
“It is challenging to place a timescale on these items but he will be out for a important period of time,” said Baxter.