Jonny Wilkinson will not be fit in time for England's RBS 6 Nations clash with Ireland in Dublin, according to his Newcastle boss Rob Andrew.
The England fly-half suffered knee-ligament damage on January 8 in a European Cup clash against Perpignan and the initial diagnosis put his recovery time at between six and eight weeks.
England, who badly missed Wilkinson's goal-kicking as they slipped to defeat against France on Sunday, travel to Dublin to play championship favourites Ireland on February 27.
Charlie Hodgson and Olly Barkley missed six penalties and a drop-goal between them as France snatched an 18-17 win at Twickenham, leaving the England supporters pining for Wilkinson's return.
But Andrew warned he will not be available for Test duty until the Italy game at Twickenham on March 12.
''Jonny will not be fit in time for England's game against Ireland but he has a chance of being ready for the matches with Italy and Scotland,'' he told the Evening Standard.
''Charlie and Olly Barkley are proven kickers in the Premiership but there is a lot more pressure at Test level. We have seen Jonny prove he can handle it in his career but he's not ready yet to return. We are monitoring him closely,'' said Andrew.
Wilkinson sustained the injury in Perpignan in only his second match back after severe bruising to his bicep ruled him out of England's autumn internationals against Canada, South Africa and Australia.
Wilkinson also missed the 2004 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery to correct a long-standing problem in his shoulder and has not played for England since the World Cup final in November 2003.
After Ireland's heroic big-game hunt of the Springboks and Scotland's six-try runaround of the Pumas, the challenge of engineering the most spectacular win of the autumn series now falls on Wales, writes Peter Jackson.