South Africa could be without Faf de Klerk for their upcoming European tour, with the scrum-half getting a surgical consult on a hip injury.
The World Cup winner initially suffered the injury in July during the second Test between South Africa and the Lions.
He returned to fitness in September, De Klerk played the following four tests against Australia and New Zealand.
However, De Klerk played through the pain barrier in Australia, and upon returning to the Sale Sharks has had a scan on the injury.
Sale's Director of Rugby Alex Sanderson says the player could be out for months if surgery is required.
"Faf is currently undergoing assessment for his hip flexor injury which was sustained in the Lions Test and has become more severe recently, but we need to get clarity on that," Sanderson said.
"There are concerns that it could be months but we need confirmation. We have to wait for the right assessments, otherwise it is scaremongering, and we have had all the scans sent over.
"They are with the consultant in London right now and we have all his previous reports. They want to see it all before they make a decision about rehab, surgery or crack on. Those are three options but we haven't had the decision yet.
"I am speculating as a rugby coach and it is frustrating when someone comes back injured, but surely there can't be any coaches or organisations out there that set out to deliberately injure people. I don’t believe that is the case."
Should De Klerk miss South Africa's November gams against Wales, Scotland and England, Montpellier's Cobus Reinach would be the most likely deputy in the number nine shirt, having started the third Lions Test in August, as well as the wins that followed against Argentina.
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