Earls, who sustained an injury to his patellar tendon over the summer, has been unable to recover through conservative rehabilitation and, after meeting a specialist in London, was told he required an operation.
The 26-year-old also withdrew from Ireland’s summer tour to Argentina due to illness and must now wait until at least the new year to make his return for the Irish province as he faces a further three to four months on the sidelines.
Earls’ club and country compatriot Donnacha Ryan will also play no part in Ireland’s November Test schedule, while Jonny Sexton, Cian Healy and Peter O’Mahony are all injury concerns for head coach Joe Schmidt.
Ryan will have toe surgery this week while Sexton is struggling to overcome a broken jaw sustained playing for Racing Metro, and Leinster prop Healy faces a significant lay-off after suffering a hamstring injury in training.
Munster captain O’Mahony continues his rehabilitation from a shoulder operation, although he has been introduced to limited-contact training this week and his progress will be monitored closely by Schmidt.
Ireland host South Africa in Dublin on November 8, before facing