Worcester Warriors have today confirmed that England international prop Matt Mullan is set for an enforced spell on the Sixways sidelines after suffering a shoulder injury.
Mullan, one of England's most promising and talented front-row forwards, dislocated his right shoulder in training last week.
The highly-rated 23-year-old, a product of the Warriors Academy who made his senior England debut against Italy during the Six Nations last season, will now undergo surgery and is set to miss three months of action.
Head Coach Richard Hill said: "We are bitterly disappointed for Matt after he was injured in what was a freak accident during training.
"The injury was not to the shoulder that ruled him out towards the end of last season and we had hoped it would not require surgical intervention. However, he has now seen the consultant, following his wedding at the weekend, and will need an operation.
"The club will now do everything we possibly can to ensure he returns to full fitness as soon as possible and we are liaising closely with the England medical team.
"It is a double blow as I had talked to Matt about the vice captaincy, but clearly he will now miss the early part of the season which is a crucial time for the team to get up and running.
"Fortunately our front row resources are a particularly strong area of the squad. We have recruited two props during the summer, in Bruce Douglas and Oliver Tomaszczyk, to add extra strength to our front row options."
Niall Annett and Phil Dowson are among three changes to the Warriors starting line-up for their trip to Franklin's Gardens to take on Northampton Saints in the Aviva Premiership this Saturday (kick-off 3pm).