Northampton Saints have confirmed England prop Alex Corbisiero will be out until 'early 2015' with a shoulder ligament tear, reports The Guardian.
The 26-year old was withdrawn early in the second half of the win over Bath last Saturday and will now miss England's autumn Tests.
Another injury blow
The news will come as a further blow to head coach Stuart Lancaster, who is already without Tom Youngs, Dan Cole and Mako Vunipola for the matches against New Zealand, South Africa, Samoa and Australia.
Lancaster is due to name his elite squad for the Test matches in three weeks time.
Corbisiero - widely regarded as one of the finest all-round props in the Northern Hemisphere - also missed the entire Six Nations campaign and summer tour of New Zealand, and hasn't pulled on the national shirt since a win over Argentina last November.
Saints' statement today contradicts the views of coach Jim Mallinder, who said on Monday that Corbisiero's injury was 'just a stinger' and that he expected him to be fit to face the All Blacks on November 8.
"Northampton Saints have today announced that Alex Corbisiero has sustained a ligament tear to his shoulder that will keep the England prop out of action until early 2015," the statement read.
"Corbisiero sustained the injury in the second half of the Saints’ Premiership game against Bath, with the specialist’s advice being that the tear needed surgical repair so that he can play to an optimum level in the future.
"The Saints and England medical teams are liaising on Corbisiero’s treatment and recovery.”
Not only will Corbisiero clearly be missed at national level, his absence from club rugby will also be a concern for Northampton.
He is set to miss four European Champions Cup matches - including tough games against Racing Metro and Ospreys - as well as several key Aviva Premiership clashes, starting with the trip to London Irish this coming weekend.
The prop was absent for the majority of the second half of last season and could only watch from the sidelines as his team clinched their first-ever Premiership title.
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