Sale hooker Andy Titterrell will miss the first month of the new Guinness Premiership season after undergoing neck surgery.
The 25-year-old needed the operation to repair a decompression of two discs in his neck after getting injured on England’s summer tour of Australia.
Titterrell said: "I am disappointed, but it’s all part of the game and I have to get on with things as best I can.
"I’ll miss the pre-season friendly fixtures and am hoping to be back in contention early in October."
Titterrell is expecting a tough campaign as Sale look to defend the Premiership title they picked up after beating Leicester at Twickenham in May.
He added; "This season will be tough for us because as champions, every team will be out to beat us.
"The squad are all working hard in training, and the boys are confident of being able to challenge for the title again."