Dan Cole faces a further six months on the sidelines after he agreed to undergo neck surgery next week, The Daily Mail reports.
The England and Leicester Tigers prop has a trapped nerve in his neck, caused by a bulging disc. The injury was diagnosed in the run up to England's Six Nation's match against Ireland back in March.
The 26-year-old prop has not played since featuring in England's Six Nations defeat at the hands of France in February and after an already lengthy absence, Cole has agreed to undergo the surgery.
The procedure not only rules Cole out of England's upcoming tour of New Zealand, but he is now likely to miss the start of the 2014/15 Premiership season and perhaps even England's autumn international fixtures.
Before the injury, Cole had been an integral part of England's pack. Before England's 2013 summer tour of South America, Cole had missed just one of England's 41 tests since making his debut against Wales in 2010.
Bath prop David Wilson is now expected to replace Cole on England's tour to New Zealand. The 29-year-old has been named in England's touring squad and he will join up with his England teammates after Bath take on Northampton in the Amlin Challenge Cup final tonight.
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