Steve Borthwick's hopes of forcing his way back into the England squad for the autumn internationals have suffered an early setback.
The former England captain has suffered a torn quadriceps muscle and is set to miss Saracens' first two games of the Aviva Premiership season, against London Irish at Twickenham and Sale at Vicarage Road.
Borthwick captained England for the first 20 Tests of Martin Johnson's regime but he was dropped from the senior 32-man squad after missing the summer tour with a knee injury.
Lewis Moody took over the leadership reins while locks Tom Palmer, Dave Attwood and Courtney Lawes all impressed the England management on the tour of Australia and New Zealand.
Borthwick, 30, is joined on the Saracens sidelines by England prospect Andy Saull, who suffered a fractured hand in the pre-season victory over Bedford.
Saracens tackle Treviso in their final pre-season match tonight. Alex Goode will start again at fly-half alongside new signings Richard Wigglesworth and Kelly Brown.