Exeter Chiefs Director of Rugby Rob Baxter has confirmed forwards Sam Simmonds and Jonny Hill could be set for extended spells on the sidelines through injury.
Baxter confirmed the news at his weekly media briefing at Sandy Park today, indicating that both had picked up the injuries during last Saturday's Gallagher Premiership win at home to Worcester Warriors.
England international Simmonds was forced off during the first half with a knee injury, while Hill - who played the whole game - has sustained a ligament injury to his hand.
Both players - who toured with England to South Africa this summer - are still being assessed by the club's medical team, but will certainly miss the Premiership trip to Bath on Friday night, as well as Exeter's opening two European Champions Cup fixtures against Munster and Castres.
It's an untimely blow for Baxter, particularly as both players have been in fine form, helping the Chiefs to record a perfect five victories from five games in this season's Premiership. No.8 Simmonds has already collected five tries in four starts, taking his tally of top flight tries to 20 in just 27 appearances.
"It's a little bit early to say how bad they are at the moment," said Baxter. "Hopefully, they will be back before the end of the season, but I can't really say at this stage.
"You've just got to deal with these things, they happen, and use it to get the guys fit in every other areas. Both Sam and Jonny can develop other areas of their physique and elements they want to keep working on in their programmes anyway, so we've just got to get them back fit as soon as we can and move on.
"They're both good players and both have a significant part to play in the rest of the season. It's a long old season and it'll be amazing how quick they'll be back in the Exeter shirt."