London - England flank Tom Croft has been ruled out of the whole of the northern hemisphere season due to a knee injury, his coach at Leicester, Richard Cockerill, said Wednesday.
The 27-year-old Croft, capped 38 times by England and twice a tourist with the British and Irish Lions, suffered the injury during champions Leicester's Premiership-opening win over Worcester on Sunday and has since had surgery.
Cockerill said Croft had ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament.
"It's horrendous bad luck for Tom because it is only last year that he came back from a very bad neck injury and did so well for England, but the Lions as well," Cockerill said.
"But these things happen. Tom will make a full recovery, but it's his season over. It is a blow, but we have just got to get on with things."
Croft suffered a career-threatening neck injury in April last year, but he returned to action some eight months later and started England's final game of last season's Six Nations against Wales.
His form then saw Croft earn a place on the Lions tour of Australia, where he started the first Test in Brisbane and came on as a replacement in the second of a three-match series the combined side eventually won 2-1.
As well as his neck problems, Croft's career had twice been interrupted by knee injuries.