Bath have no clear time frame on when England star Anthony Watson could return to action after he retore his Achilles tendon.
Watson suffered an initial Achilles injury playing for England against Ireland in the final game of last season's Six Nations Championship.
And Bath rugby director Todd Blackadder admitted on Tuesday that it is a "start again injury" as the countdown continues towards the start of the new season.
Speaking to reporters at Bath's training base in Farleigh Hungerford, Blackadder said: "The initial surgery did not quite take, and he has re-torn it.
"It is a start again injury, so we honestly don't know what the time-line is.
"It could come down to weeks or months, but it could be later in the season, we just don't know."
Watson, 24, has won 33 England caps and scored 15 tries for his country.
The prognosis from his first Achilles injury was a six-month absence, so the latest setback suggests that he might struggle to play again this year.
England kick off their autumn Test schedule against South Africa on November 3, with world champions New Zealand, Japan and Australia following on successive Saturdays.
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Centre Robbie Fruean has completed a deal to join Bath, reuniting with his former Canterbury Crusaders coaches Todd Blackadder and Tabai Matson.
The 28-year-old will move to the Aviva Premiership after his Mitre 10 Cup commitments with Hawke's Bay, with the competition culminating in late October.
The 2007 IRB world under-19 player of the year excelled in New Zealand's junior ranks, but was then blighted by both illness and injury.
Fruean rebuilt his career making more than 60 appearances for the Crusaders under Blackadder and Matson's tutelage, and now the trio will link back up again at the Recreation Ground.
"We are really excited that Robbie has agreed to join us here at Bath," said Bath rugby director Blackadder.
"Tabai (Matson, Bath head coach) and I know him very well from his time at the Crusaders, and he is the kind of player we know will fit right in with the squad we have here, both on and off the field."
The Mitre 10 Cup final will be held on October 28, suggesting the latest Fruean could arrive at Bath would be early November.
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England backs Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson have signed new contracts with Bath that will keep them at the Aviva Premiership club until 2019.
Both players, who were present throughout this year's Grand Slam triumph and the 3-0 series whitewash of Australia, left London Irish for the Recreation Ground in 2013.
"Jonathan and Anthony are exceptionally talented and since gaining greater international experience, they are having much more of a positive effect on the group - on and off the pitch," Bath first-team coach Toby Booth said.
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