England coach Eddie Jones believes George Kruis still has a chance to make the British and Irish Lions squad, despite being ruled out for 12 weeks after knee surgery.
The Saracens second row has firmly established himself in Jones' side but was injured in England's training camp ahead of their Six Nations opener against France.
He will not play any part in the Grand Slam champions' title defence and he is also highly likely to go without any rugby by the time Warren Gatland names his Lions squad in April.
"George has had a tough old time," Jones told Sky Sports News.
"He's had an ankle clean-out, then a cheekbone clean-out, now he's going to have a knee clean-out.
"He's going to have a pretty clean body by the end of it. He needs to have surgery on that knee - that's the most sure way of making sure he comes back 100 per cent. It's about ensuring he's going to come back a better player.
"Given he such a quality player, Warren might gamble on him but that's Warren's decision."
Gatland will take the Lions to New Zealand in June and July for three Tests against the world champion All Blacks.