Alex Corbisiero has suffered another injury setback with a shoulder injury set to keep the Saints prop out until early in the new year.
Corbisiero sustained a ligament tear in Saturday’s Aviva Premiership victory against Bath at Franklin’s Gardens, forcing him off after just 51 minutes.
And it has now emerged that the England star will need surgery on the problem, meaning he will miss numerous key games for club and country.
It is the latest in a long line of injury problems for the 26-year-old, who spent six months of the previous campaign on the sidelines with a knee injury.
He returned to play his part in the closing stages of the season, starting both finals as Saints won the Amlin Challenge Cup and Aviva Premiership.
But Corbisiero will now be forced into recovery mode again with Alex Waller, whose form in the Lions loosehead’s absence won him an England call-up, ready to step up again.