- Leicester Tigers, England and British and Irish Lions flanker faces long lay-off
- "Tom will make a full recovery but it's his season over" – Richard Cockerill
Photo: Getty Images
Tom Croft is set to miss the entire season after sustaining a knee injury in Leicester Tigers’ Aviva Premiership match against Worcester Warriors at Welford Road on Saturday.
The 27 year-old, who started the first Test for the British and Irish Lions against Australia this summer, suffered cruciate knee ligament damage in the final minutes of Leicester's 32-15 win.
He has been forced to have reconstructive surgery and will subsequently miss England's QBE Internationals, as well as their RBS 6 Nations campaign.
Croft is also unlikely to return in time for the culmination of the domestic and European seasons, when Leicester will hope to be involved in the latter stages of the Heineken Cup and pushing to retain their Premiership crown.
The injury is another agonising setback for Croft, who broke his neck playing against Harlequins in April 2012 and spent almost a year on the sidelines before returning in January.
Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill told the Daily Mail: "Tom had a bang on the knee at the weekend.
"We felt it was relatively innocuous but after further investigation the ACL (anterior cruciate) ligament was ruptured and he has had surgery to reconstruct it and that's his season finished.
"It's horrendous bad luck for Tom because it is only last year that he came back from a very bad neck injury and did so well for England but the Lions as well. But these things happen.
"Tom will make a full recovery but it's his season over. It's a blow but we have just got to get on with things."
England head coach Stuart Lancaster added: "It’s really tough on Tom, having worked so hard to come back after his neck injury.
"He is in good hands with the Leicester medical team and our own medics will be in regular contact with them to help him in his recovery. We wish him all the best."
Lancaster’s senior EPS will convene at the end of next month ahead of the first QBE International against Australia at Twickenham on November 2.
The back-rowers currently listed among the Saxons training squad are James Haskell, Will Fraser, Luke Wallace, Thomas Waldrom, Jordan Crane, Tom Johnson, Calum Clark, George Kruis and Kearnan Myall.