Dorian West has revealed that Alex Corbisiero will have an operation on his injured knee.
And the Saints forwards coach does not know when the loosehead prop is expected to return to action.
Corbisiero was set to start for England against New Zealand this weekend, but was forced to withdraw after injuring his knee in training on Tuesday.
It is not a recurrence of the problem that kept him out of the Six Nations last season, but it will require surgery.
“I think he’s having a cartilage operation and it’s his good knee as such that he’s having it on this time,” said West. “Hopefully they’ll tidy it up.
“He’ll work hard. He’s a good player, he’s a bright lad, he knows what he needs to do to get himself back into the right shape to play and I’m sure he’ll do that quicker than people expect.”
Corbisiero has not played for Saints since October 11 after he picked up an initial injury in the Heineken Cup defeat at Castres.
And is remains unclear when the 25-year-old will play again, with Northampton set to continue to call on the Waller brothers, Alex and Ethan, in the coming weeks.
“You never know with things like that,” said West when asked for Corbisiero’s expected return date. “It depends what they’ve done to him, what the recovery time is and what rehab he can do.
“There’s lots of different issues but he’s surrounded by good people and he’ll be back as soon as possible.”