England star Tom Curry has been ruled out of the Six Nations tournament after the flanker's club Sale revealed he needs surgery on a hip injury.
Curry has been troubled by the problem since playing for England at the recent World Cup in France.
After consulting with a specialist, the 25-year-old has decided an operation in the next fortnight is the best solution.
That leaves Curry with no chance of recovering in time for the Six Nations, which gets underway in early February next year.
It will sideline him for the rest of Sale's English Premiership season as well.
"Tom needs a clear out of his hip that will put him out for the rest of this season. This is the only option," Sale director of rugby Alex Sanderson said on Tuesday.
"I know it sounds long-term, the season, but it's not. He is still a young lad and it's the best thing for him in the short-term to ensure he is able to be more robust moving forward to train and progress his game the way he wants to.
"There has always been an element of managing his load because he will just empty the tank and drink deep for the well and this time he was doing the same thing but just not recovering and wasn't able to do it again and again.
"The red flags were out that maybe there was something deeper here and apparently there is."
The injury continued a turbulent period for Curry, who accused South Africa's Bongi Mbonambi of racially abusing him during the World Cup semi-final.
World Rugby found insufficient evidence to support Curry's allegation following an investigation.
The sport's governing body has closed the case unless additional evidence comes to light.
England now have to plan without Curry, who has 50 caps and was a key member of their team when available.
Curry missed the 2023 Six Nations due to a hamstring injury, while he sat out England's World Cup build-up with ankle ligament damage.
A red card for a dangerous tackle against Argentina in the tournament opener resulted in a two-match ban for Curry before he returned to the team.
Sale are currently top of the Premiership after five wins in their opening six matches, but they will have to sustain their title bid without Curry.
There was better injury news for England's Ben Earl on Tuesday when his club Saracens confirmed the flanker should be back from a knee injury in time for the Six Nations.
Earl, who impressed for England at number eight in the World Cup, suffered the injury in Saracens' victory over Harlequins last Saturday.