Wilkinson, who has played just 58 minutes of rugby since kicking the drop goal which won the World Cup for England, will go into surgery on Wednesday and expects to be out of action for at least eight weeks while he recovers.
But the Newcastle Falcon revealed that even that may not be the final solution.
"You have to accept that, after the operation, the nerve might still be damaged from the tackle and doesn't want to come back," Wilkinson told the Times.
"I'd have to deal with that. But having the operation means that we'll have done all we can. It fits in with my ethics of wanting to know I've given everything its best shot."
Wilkinson stressed that was the worst-case scenario and Rob Andrew, Newcastle's director of rugby and Wilkinson's long-time mentor, is confident he has not seen the last of the fly half in an England jersey.
"We're all pretty calm about this," Andrew told the Daily Telegraph.
"It's not as if this is a last measure or anything. This is the outcome of considered talks between all the parties concerned.
"The gathering of information over the last few weeks has led us down this road.
"It's been dealt with in a proper and professional manner. It looks as if it will be a six to eight-week rehabilitation period so we hope to see Jonny back with us before the end of the season."