Jonny Wilkinson faces another lengthy spell on the sidelines after dislocating his knee during Newcastle’s Premiership defeat to Gloucester on Tuesday.
The England flyhalf was helped off the field after just 25 minutes when he appeared to twist his knee in a ruck as the Falcons went down 39-23 and it was confirmed by his club on Wednesday that he had suffered a dislocation.
The 29-year-old has endured a terrible run of injuries since 2003 and only returned to action last month after shoulder surgery. This latest set back looks certain to rule Wilkinson out of England’s end-of-year Test series which kicks off in just over five weeks time against the Pacific Islands.
Despite the blow Newcastle’s director of rugby Steve Bates remained optimistic.
“It is obviously disappointing for Jonny to receive an injury just when he was back playing fantastic rugby, but he has enormous strength of character and I am sure he will come back stronger despite this blow,” Bates said on the club’s website.
Ironically the man seen as Wilkinson’s natural successor, Danny Cipriani, is due to make an earlier than expected return from injury on Wednesday when his side Wasps take on Bath.
Cipriani was left out of Martin Johnson’s initial 32-man elite squad after it was anticipated the youngster would only make a return to action around mid-November, but Johnson has the option of moving players up to the elite squad in the case of injury or suspension.
Premier Rugby Ltd chief executive Mark McCafferty confirmed Cipriani could yet win a place in the squad under the exceptional circumstances rule.
“If they want to consider Cipriani, which they may well do, the situation where a player has come back from a long-term injury much sooner than expected is an exceptional circumstance,” McCafferty told the BBC.