Exeter and England hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie has been ruled out until the new year after breaking his thumb.
The 22-year-old, who made his England debut against France in August, has had surgery to repair the injury.
"He's likely to be out for a couple of months while it heals," Exeter head coach Rob Baxter told BBC Radio Devon.
"The way Luke plays he does chuck himself around and a few weeks off isn't going to do the rest of his body any harm."
Cowan-Dickie had been Exeter's first-choice hooker at the start of this season, having been one of the final players to be cut from the England squad before this year's World Cup.
And while it puts his chances of a call-up for the Six Nations in doubt, Baxter believes the player does have a future with England.
"He probably is one of the most exciting young players in the Premiership at the moment and I think he's played really well at the start of the season," Baxter said.
"Some of his defending is outstanding, his line speed, the quality of his chop tackling and his set piece is coming on all the time.
"Although he'll be frustrated, I don't think it's the end of the story for him as far as England is concerned."