Former Lions tourist Charlie Hodgson will miss the first month of the season through injury.
Hodgson has had surgery to mend an ongoing shoulder problem and is not expected to play again until early October.
The 2005 Lion, who was one of four fly-halves chosen to represent Britain and Ireland’s elite five years ago, had been struggling with the problem on England’s summer trip to Australia and New Zealand.
Hodgson had been chosen for that tour following a two-year spell in the international wilderness following criticism of his defence during the 2008 summer series with the All Blacks.
The 29-year-old was in impressive form for his club last season despite Sale suffering collectively and has been included in the current England Saxons squad.
Sale begin their Aviva Premiership campaign at home to Newcastle Falcons on September 3.