Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter has confirmed that centre Henry Slade will miss the start of the Six Nations due to an ankle injury.
Slade was forced off in the first-half of last Saturday’s 31-22 win over Leicester Tigers and has been ruled out for six to eight weeks.
England open their Six Nations campaign against France at the Stade de France on February 2 but head coach Eddie Jones must now plan for the testing opening trip to Paris without a key component of his backline.
“Henry has a small fracture to his ankle around the site of the plate he had put in a couple of seasons ago when he fractured it at Wasps,” Chiefs boss Baxter revealed in what is a setback for both club and country.
“The prognosis of anything like that is six to eight weeks of healing time. There’s no information at this stage that says it will be quicker or slower than six to eight weeks.
“It’s not for me to say for which game exactly he’ll be back because things can shorten up considerably towards the end of rehab time or they can relapse at the end, so it’s impossible for me to say.”
Slade has been a regular for England since cementing his place in the starting line-up during the 2018 tour to South Africa and was involved in the Rugby World Cup in Japan after recovering from a knee problem.