Irish fullback Geordan Murphy was stretchered off for his club side Leicester after 71 minutes of Saturday's Premiership match against Northampton.
The Leicester captain is believed to have suffered a dislocated ankle which would rule him out for the early part of Ireland's upcoming Six Nations campaign.
This news comes at the worst time for Ireland coach Declan Kidney who has already lost Rob Kearney for the opening match against Italy in Rome. Kearney suffered a knee injury while playing for Leinster and the loss of Murphy is likely to open the door for his club teammate Luke Fitzgerald to slot in.
Fitzgerald is being touted as next in line but Keith Earls is also a possible choice for Kidney. Earls and Fitzgerald are the obvious choices to fill in but what will remain unknown until the squads come together is who will fill the fullback void and who will stay on the wing.