England and Exeter Chiefs centre Henry Slade has been ruled out for four months after undergoing surgery on a broken leg and a damaged ankle, effectively ruling him out of the Six Nations.
The 22-year-old was stretchered off during the 41-27 victory over Wasps on 5 December following a tackle from Sailosi Tagicakibau and has undergone an operation where a metal plate and wiring has been inserted into his leg.
He is almost certain to be unavailable for selection when new England boss Eddie Jones names his squad for the Six Nations campaign, which begins against Scotland on 6 February.
"The reality is it is a decent injury, so you would normally talk around four months for an injury like this," Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter said via the club's official website. "That can change relatively significantly both ways though depending on a number of factors.
"We are certainly not pencilling in any date for Henry's return because we know it is long term. We will start talking about a return date in eight to 10 weeks' time when we know a bit more – it will take a bit of time though and a lengthy rehab process."
The club however expect Slade to make a full recovery after what they have described as a "successful operation." Exeter have also lost back-row forward Dave Ewers to a knee ligament injury.