Wales centre James Hook is a doubt for the summer tour to New Zealand after being told he needs to undergo surgery on his shoulder.
Hook – who was one of Wales’ stand-out performer in the RBS 6 Nations earlier this year – could be out of action for up to five months if he goes under the surgeon’s knife.
The Ospreys back could postpone the operation under after the summer tour, but that would rule him out of the autumn Tests and could make him a doubt for the start of the 2011 RBS 6 Nations.
“James has had the problem for a while and he needs surgery,” said Wales coach Warren Gatland.
“I talked with the Ospreys earlier in the season about whether it would be best for him to have the operation before the start of the Six Nations, but they wanted him to be available at the end of the season and I could understand that.
“He will be out of action for between three and five months, and we have to consider whether he should be operated on before or after the New Zealand tour.
“We and the Ospreys have had to manage him in terms of contact, and it is testament to him that he has had an excellent season.”