Billy Twelvetrees is likely to be ruled out of England's summer tour to New Zealand after being ruled out of action for "four to six weeks" by Gloucester boss Nigel Davies.
Twelvetrees suffered ankle damage in the Cherry and Whites' 38-30 Aviva Premiership victory over London Irish on Saturday.
England coach Stuart Lancaster had hoped to have the 24-year-old available for the opening Test against the All Blacks in Auckland on June 7.
However, Davies confirmed the former Leicester centre does not need surgery but may not be fit in time for either of the opening two Tests next month.
"It looks like an injury that will be between four to six weeks before it's right, so not great for him, obviously, Billy having had such a good season overall," said Davies.
"It's not ligaments, it's a relatively minor injury in his ankle, but it will stop him from playing. It doesn't need an intervention at this stage.
"He's had a long period of rugby if you think about the tours as well with England and going with the Lions last summer.
"So it will give him a good chance to have a good pre-season and hit next season on top form."
Head coach Lancaster is already without players from the Premiership finalists for the first All Blacks Test, with just seven days between the league decider and the international.
Should Leicester and Saracens reach the Premiership final on May 31, Lancaster would be without Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi and Saracens midfielder Brad Barritt for the first Test.
If Northampton Saints reach the final then England must do without another centre, Luther Burrell, who formed a potent partnership with Twelvetrees during the Six Nations.
Leicester hooker Tom Youngs is staying at home to look after his ill wife, while Saints hooker Dylan Hartley and Bath No 2 Rob Webber are battling for fitness.
Lancaster has opted not to risk Northampton prop Alex Corbisiero and Leicester back row Tom Croft, despite the British and Irish Lions duo recovering from long-term knee trouble.
Former Wales and Scarlets coach Davies refused to rule Twelvetrees out of summer action with England, but conceded the playmaking centre has a battle on his hands to play a part in New Zealand.
"There's a chance, and different people and different injuries heal at different rates," said Davies.
"When we talk about injury recovery times we're talking ball-park in the main and you normally get variations within that. So if he recovers more quickly than expected, there's a chance."
Watch all England's Tests in New Zealand on Sky Sports 1HD, starting on June 7 from 08.00