Jack Nowell's participation in the upcoming autumn internationals for England is in doubt after the Exeter Chiefs wing sustained a couple of fractures around his cheek and eye socket.
The 24-year-old suffered the injury during the recently concluded Aviva Premiership game against Newcastle Falcons at Sandy Park where he left the field in the 19th minute.
Exeter Chiefs rugby director Rob Baxter confirmed the news on Nowell and is expecting him to be out of action for between four and eight weeks.
"Jack has got a couple of fractures around the top of his cheek and his eye socket," Baxter told reporters at Sandy Park on Wednesday.
"At this stage, it is looking likely he will require an operation to settle it down. Until the surgeon moves in and does some more investigation, that's about as far as I can tell you.
"Depending on when the operation happens, if it is definitely required, which is looking likely, and the severity of the injury, that will then decide whether there is no way back for the autumn internationals.
"It is still a little early to write him off for the whole of the autumn internationals, but that is something we will assess in the next week or so."
The news also means Nowell will join the injury casualty for England's November Tests which has already seen Saracens number eight Billy Vunipola and Leicester centre Manu Tuilagi ruled out.
Baxter added: "It is always a blow when you lose good players, but that's why you put a squad of people together.
"I am disappointed for him personally. He is in good form, starting this season really well for us, and obviously he wanted to have a couple of big rounds in the European Champions Cup to get himself right in the frame for England.
"That, unfortunately, has been damaged now with a pretty innocuous and unfortunate injury. Now, he is going to be held back for the next six to eight weeks.
"It is in and around his eye. We are not anticipating any issues with his vision but obviously there are optical nerves and facial nerves around that area that an operation will disturb. Those things will take a little while to settle as well.
"I don't want to say the wrong thing. Until we have fully got right into the crux of what is going on there...we are still waiting to see the consultant.
"I think six weeks from the time of injury is a figure that we've had bandied around. There is the potential for it to be four weeks, there is the potential for it to be eight weeks."