Sam Tomkins' eagerly-awaited return to Wigan will be delayed until Easter after undergoing knee surgery.
The England full-back announced in April he was cutting short his stay at New Zealand Warriors to re-join his home-town club on a four-year deal and he missed the end of the NRL season with knee trouble.
The 26-year-old Tomkins was ruled out of England's current Test series with New Zealand after suffering a recurrence of the injury in training at St George's Park and, after returning to Wigan for further assessment. by the club's medical team, underwent surgery.
In a statement, Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan said: "Sam Tomkins was seen by a senior and well-respected orthopaedic consultant who recommended surgery to deal with the posterior cruciate ligament injury which Sam suffered while playing for the New Zealand Warriors early last season.
"The surgery was performed successfully on Friday 5th November and it is anticipated that Sam will make a full recovery.
"However, he will miss the start of the First Utility 2016 Super League Season and Wigan fans can look forward to him returning around the Easter period."
The news is a body blow to Wigan, the 2015 Grand-Final runners-up who released his replacement, veteran Australian full-back Matt Bowen, at the end of the season.
Warriors coach Shaun Wane has the option of playing the versatile Ryan Hampshire at full-back until Tomkins is fit to return.
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