London - England centre Henry Slade will miss the start of the Six Nations Championship with an ankle injury sustained on club duty with the Exeter Chiefs.
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Slade left the field in the Chiefs' 31-22 win over Leicester Tigers in the English Premiership earlier this month after fracturing his right ankle and the 26-year-old could now be out of action for up to two months.
Such an absence will rule Slade out of World Cup losing finalists England's tournament opener away in France on February 2, with coach Eddie Jones having to reshape a backline where the 27-times capped midfielder has become a familiar figure.
"Henry has a small fracture to his ankle around the site of the plate he had put in a couple of seasons ago when he fractured it at Wasps," said Exeter boss Rob Baxter.
"The prognosis of anything like that is six to eight weeks of healing time. There's no information at this stage that says it will be quicker or slower than six to eight weeks."
Baxter added: "It's not for me to say for which game exactly he'll be back because things can shorten up considerably towards the end of rehab time or they can relapse at the end, so it's impossible for me to say."