Flanker Sam Underhill is set to miss England’s autumn Tests because of a shoulder problem that requires surgery.
The Bath forward, who has won 29 caps, is expected to be sidelined for 12 weeks.
And such a spell out of the game would mean the 26-year-old not being available for England’s November appointments with Argentina, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa.
Underhill suffered concussion during England’s second Test victory over Australia in Brisbane two months ago, and he was ruled out of the series decider a week later.
“Sam Underhill is to undergo surgery on a shoulder issue,” Bath said.
“The operation will see the Bath Rugby back-row forward sidelined for approximately 12 weeks.”
Underhill’s absence is a blow for England head coach Eddie Jones as the countdown to next year’s World Cup in France continues to gather pace.
Openside flanker Underhill started the World Cup final when England lost to South Africa in 2019, and Jones will hope to see him fit and firing for the Guinness Six Nations Championship later this season.
Bath, meanwhile, confirmed that three times-capped England prop Beno Obano has undergone knee surgery, although no timescale has been put on his recovery.
“The club can also confirm Beno Obano’s knee injury required surgery, which was successful,” Bath added.
“He will now begin his rehabilitation with the Bath Rugby medical staff.”