England full-back Ben Foden requires surgery to his ankle, meaning he is set to miss the November Tests against Fiji, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.
A visit to a specialist on Thursday revealed that Foden sustained severe damage to his right ankle ligaments against Bath last Friday.
The Northampton full-back will undergo an operation in the next few days and it is anticipated he will be out of action for approximately 10-12 weeks.
With the opening November Test against Fiji eight weeks away, the potential absence of the 30-cap man is a blow to Stuart Lancaster but the England Head Coach pointed to the other quality back three players at his disposal.
"It is unfortunate for Ben who has had a good run in the side and is a valuable leader," said Lancaster.
"But we have a number of back three players who are playing well and this offers a chance for them.
"Our medics will work closely with Northampton Saints to help Ben's recovery and I am sure he will be available for the Six Nations."
Northampton Saints Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder echoed a similar sentiment, adding that he is backing Foden to return as a better player.
"Ben had been playing well at the start of this season and to lose him to injury is obviously disappointing," said Mallinder.
"But we know that he is a dedicated professional and will work hard with our Performance team to come back as a better and fitter player.
"In the meantime Ben's injury will give opportunities for the other back three players in our squad like James Wilson, Scott Armstrong and Noah Cato to show what they can do in the Saints first team."