Wasps prodigy Alfie Barbeary has been ruled out for between six-to-eight weeks, putting his claim for an England call-up in time for the Six Nations in doubt.
The 20-year-old sensation was removed from the action in Wasps 26-23 victory over Sale Sharks on Sunday, and is set to see a specialist on Wednesday to be assessed for a high ankle sprain.
Should surgery be required Barbeary will almost certainly miss a large proportion of England’s Six Nations campaign, which begins at Twickenham against Scotland on February 6.
Wasps head coach Lee Blackett said: “Alfie has a syndesmosis injury. Whenever you have that injury it’s not the greatest but it’s not an out-and-out disaster.
“It’s hard to know how long he’ll be out for as there are still question marks as to whether he needs surgery. It’s a guessing game until he sees the specialist.
“Like any player he’ll be frustrated. I’ve been really pleased with Alfie recently – he’s got better and better and had big impacts on the game.
“I’m disappointed for Alfie but we’ve got to make sure that he’s a better player when he comes back.
“We’ll work really hard behind the scenes, for however long he’s out for, to make sure he comes back better than when he left us.”
Barbeary saw more opportunities handed to him towards the end of last season, starting five times in the Premiership when teams returned to action in August.
His form earned him an England call-up during the Autumn Nations Cup, but he did not take to the field under Eddie Jones after missing out on selection to a match-day squad.
As for Wasps winger Zach Kibirige, knocked out against Sale in ugly scenes at the AJ Bell Stadium, he will definitely miss Saturday’s rematch of the 2020 Premiership final against Exeter Chiefs.
“It’s really important that we do the right thing for Zach in this instance. We won’t be rushing him back,” Blackett said.