England wing Marland Yarde requires surgery on a torn hip tendon and is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
The London Irish speed merchant missed England's final two autumn internationals with a minor hip problem, which became more serious during last weekend's 20-11 Aviva Premiership defeat to Leicester.
Subsequent scans revealed a tear, and Yarde's participation in the 2014 Six Nations has been thrown into doubt with early estimates suggesting the 21-year-old will be out of action for between 12 and 14 weeks.
England start their Six Nations campaign against France on February 1 and Yarde, who made his international debut against Argentina in the summer and earned selection against Australia in the autumn opener, faces a fitness race.
He is not the only one, with Leicester lock Geoff Parling hoping to shrug off shoulder surgery in time for the tournament and Manu Tuilagi battling an ongoing chest problem - while star prop Alex Corbisiero will definitely miss out following a knee operation.
With Irish's recent signing of Australia utility three-quarter James O'Connor softening the blow of Yarde's surgery to some degree, there was more bad news in the form of a fractured radius for David Paice - an injury that is likely to sideline the influential hooker for eight to 10 weeks.
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