England wing David Strettle could be set for a prolonged stint on the sidelines.
The Harlequins player, who impressed greatly in the 2006/07 season to earn a spot in the England squad ahead of the World Cup, saw much of last season from the stands after suffering a serious foot injury.
Strettle missed the World Cup, and then most of the RBS 6 Nations with continuing difficulties despite undergoing surgery.
The former England Sevens star has been in dangerous form this season as his club have climbed into second in the Guinness Premiership table ahead of the break for EDF Energy and Heineken Cup action.
And now his coach Dean Richards has confirmed that there will be no swift return for the wing as it looks like further surgery is likely.
"There is a possibility he might have an operation," Richards, a former Lions tourist, explained after his side were beaten 24-23 by the Ospreys in last weekend's EDF Energy Cup match.
"In terms of knowing exactly what the score is, we will wait and see what the surgeon says."
The uncertainty surrounding Strettle's future will come as a disappointment to a player who had been tipped for a fruitful career in an England shirt and possibly a place in the Lions squad to tour South Africa next summer.
In May 2007, Strettle was named as the Professional Rugby Players' Association Young Player of the Season. He was also named in the Sky Sports Dream Team for the Guinness Premiership season in 2006/07 but he will now have to be patient in his attempts to scale similar heights once more.