Wales centre Jamie Roberts will undergo wrist surgery and miss the November Tests against Australia, South Africa, Fiji and New Zealand.
The Cardiff Blues back expects to also miss the first half of the coming season but said yesterday that he hopes to be available for the Six Nations in 2011.
Roberts sustained the injury during the second Test of the British and Irish Lions series in South Africa last year – when he made his debut – but initial scans failed to reveal the extent of the damage and he has played through the pain since, including Test matches for Wales against the All Blacks last month.
The 23-year-old had further scans when he returned from New Zealand revealed the need for an operation.
Roberts said: "I injured my wrist during the second Test in South Africa last summer. I had a couple of MRI scans which unfortunately did not pick up the injury and it was not until the surgeon had a look with a camera in the joint at the end of the season that the full extent of the injury was diagnosed.
"Unfortunately it needs an operation to stabilise the wrist. I played all of last season with a lot of pain in my wrist and so it is logical to get it sorted as soon as possible.
"It is pretty disappointing to be missing more or less the first half of the season, but I will certainly use the time while injured to rid my body of any niggles and come back to the field in good nick and aim to lift more silverware with the Blues."Reuse content