James Haskell set to be sidelined for between four to six months with toe injury
Wasps and England flanker James Haskell faces between four and six months on the sidelines because of injury.
Wasps announced the anticipated long lay-off, with 31-year-old Haskell set to undergo reconstructive surgery on his big toe after being hurt during England's second Test victory over Australia in Melbourne last month.
Haskell missed the third Test as England claimed a history-making 3-0 series whitewash against the Wallabies, and he now looks likely to be unavailable for the autumn internationals at Twickenham in November when England tackle South Africa, Fiji, Argentina and Australia on successive weekends.
Haskell, who has won 70 caps, was named man of the series in Australia as England continued their impressive winning run under head coach Eddie Jones.
But the England boss now faces a back-row reshuffle in November, which could mean a move for lock Maro Itoje.
Northampton forward Teimana Harrison made his Test debut as Haskell's replacement against Australia in Sydney, but he was substituted after just 30 minutes, with Courtney Lawes replacing him, Itoje moving to six and ex-England skipper Chris Robshaw switching to openside.
Haskell's absence is also a huge blow for Wasps, given his imperious form.
Wasps begin their Aviva Premiership campaign in early September, while the opening four weekends of next season's European Champions Cup pool fixtures take place during October and December. Wasps were semi-finalists in both competitions last term.
In a statement, Wasps said: "James Haskell's injury, sustained in England's second Test against Australia this summer, requires surgery and the back-row is expected to be sidelined for four to six months.
"After limping off in England's second Test against Australia, James Haskell will undergo reconstructive surgery on his big toe before returning to Wasps to complete his rehabilitation process."
And Wasps rugby director Dai Young added: "We're all really disappointed for James and we are all wishing him a speedy recovery.
"James' performances with England, both in the 3-0 series win over Australia and in England's Six Nations Grand Slam success, have been hugely impressive.
"Everyone at Wasps knows how hard James works to make those performances happen, and we know he'll be working just as hard to come back in the best shape possible.
"Our medical team will be working closely with James over the next few months to get him back to full fitness, and in the meantime there will be a good opportunity for the other back row players we have at the club to stake a claim."