Jim Mallinder has confirmed that Kieran Brookes suffered a knee injury in Saints’ 9-9 draw with Racing 92 at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday night.
And the director of rugby is now hoping the injury is not too serious as his club continue to be shorn of a number of England forwards.
Dylan Hartley is currently sidelined with concussion, while Tom Wood and Calum Clark are missing with shoulder injuries.
And the loss of Brookes would be a huge blow, with the former Newcastle Falcons tighthead prop having recently been named the club’s player of the month for November.
Youngster Paul Hill replaced the 25-year-old in the 29th minute of Friday’s game and Saints can also call on the services of Gareth Denman.
But there is no doubt that Mallinder will be keen to get Brookes back as soon as possible, with the next game coming at London Irish on Boxing Day.
“It’s not ideal,” Mallinder said. “He’s been a rock for us this year and particularly when you’re playing against big men like we were on Friday, you need your big men playing.
“I though Paul Hill came on and did really well. It was a really big effort for him, he was against big men in the front row.
“He was up against it, but it’s a fantastic experience for him.”
And on Brookes’s injury Mallinder added: “He’s twisted his knee. Hopefully it’s not serious.
“Hopefully it’s just a twist.”