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England flanker Sam Underhill will miss the Six Nations after undergoing an ankle operation.
Underhill's club Bath have confirmed the 22-year-old will be out of action for up to three months.
Underhill suffered damaged ankle ligaments during Bath's victory against Leicester on December 30.
It was initially thought Underhill had merely rolled his ankle but after seeing a specialist it was decided he needed an operation, ruling him out until mid-April.
The news comes as a blow to England head coach Eddie Jones following Underhill's impressive displays in the Autumn internationals.
England kick off their Six Nations campaign against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday, February 2.
Their final match is against Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday, March 16.
Bath also announced flanker Tom Ellis faces eight weeks out with an elbow injury.
Flanker Sam Underhill could be a doubt for England's opening Guinness Six Nations games against Ireland and France.
Underhill's club Bath have confirmed that he suffered an ankle ligament injury during last Sunday's Gallagher Premiership victory over Leicester.
The west country club say "further detail around his expected return" will be provided after he is reviewed by a specialist.
It is understood that Underhill could be sidelined for at least four weeks, and that will give England head coach Eddie Jones a fitness concern ahead of the Six Nations.
Ireland forward Iain Henderson has been ruled out for nearly three months to leave his participation in the Guinness Six Nations in doubt.
The 26-year-old underwent surgery on a torn ligament in his thumb on Monday, with Ulster announcing he is expected to be out for "approximately 10 weeks".
Henderson scored two tries for Ulster in Friday's 30-15 Champions Cup victory over Scarlets but will now miss the region's final two Pool Four games as well as a number of Guinness PRO14 fixtures.
He is also stands to miss Ireland's Six Nations home game against England on February 2 and the trips to Scotland and Italy on February 9 and 24 respectively.
If the 10-week time-frame proves accurate he could come into the reckoning for the final two matches, at home to France and away against Wales, in March.
By having the surgery now Henderson is hoping to have the injury well behind him in time for the World Cup in Japan in September.
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