Manu Tuilagi came off the bench for the British & Irish Lions in the third Test against Australia
Centre Manu Tuilagi is likely to miss the rest of the season due to the groin injury that has hampered him since October, Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill has confirmed.
The 23-year-old missed England's spring campaign and doubts surrounding his fitness persist ahead of the World Cup later this year.
The initial prognosis was a "six to eight week" lay-off for Tuilagi, while revised January and February return dates were also not met.
And Tuilagi, who featured for the British & Irish Lions in their 2013 series-clinching win over Australia, now faces a race to recover fully enough in time for England's World Cup opener with Fiji at Twickenham on September 18.
"He's improving all the time but it's a long process," said Cockerill. "The likelihood now is he may not play this season.
"The likelihood is he will be fit for June and he'll join England for their World Cup camp.
"Hopefully he will be involved in the World Cup warm-ups and have a huge say in how England do."