Courtney Lawes is a major doubt for the Six Nations after being replaced in the England squad due to an injury issue.
The back five forward sustained a calf problem during Northampton Saints’ 31-13 defeat to La Rochelle in the Champions Cup at the weekend.
It means that Lawes has withdrawn from the 36-man group as the Red Rose prepare for the upcoming tournament which starts on February 4.
Northampton director of rugby Phil Dowson played down the severity of the 33-year-old’s injury on Saturday but was unable to give a proper prognosis.
Dowson said: “Courtney doesn’t appear to be downbeat, he never is, but he felt he couldn’t continue.
“His calf tightened up, he hasn’t had an issue with it before but he will need to see the physio tomorrow and possibly have a scan so it’s fingers crossed.”
Lawes missed the Autumn Nations Series with concussion and looks set to be absent for at least the start of the Six Nations.
He has been replaced in the England squad by Northampton team-mate David Ribbans, who was one of the few players to emerge from the November campaign with any credit.
Further injury concerns
George McGuigan is also out after sustaining a knee injury in Gloucester’s victory over Bordeaux-Begles, with Bath’s Tom Dunn being called up.
Luke Cowan-Dickie is already set to miss most of the Six Nations and, with Jamie George suffering a head injury on Sunday, the Red Rose are short in the front-row.
Jack Walker was the only fit hooker left in the squad prior to Dunn’s arrival, leaving new head coach Steve Borthwick with plenty to ponder ahead of their opener against Scotland.