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Dislocated knee makes Wilkinson an England doubt

Jonny Wilkinson's participation in England's four November Tests looked to be in doubt after his latest injury is diagnosed as a dislocation of the knee.

The Newcastle Falcons' fly-half Jonny Wilkinson lies injured.
The Newcastle Falcons' fly-half Jonny Wilkinson lies injured.

LONDON // Jonny Wilkinson's participation in England's four November Tests looked to be in doubt after his latest injury was today diagnosed to be a dislocation of the knee. The Newcastle Falcons and England flyhalf suffered the left knee injury in the first half of his club's 39-23 Premiership defeat by Gloucester on Tuesday. He underwent a scan today, which the club said confirmed a dislocation. "It is obviously disappointing for Jonny to receive an injury just when he was back playing fantastic rugby, but he has enormous strength of character and I am sure he will come back stronger despite this blow," the Falcons director of rugby Steve Bates told the club's website.

No indication of a timescale for recovery was given by the club but injury-plagued Wilkinson, who started the season late following shoulder surgery that kept him out of England's tour of New Zealand, will be out for several weeks. That makes him doubtful for England's November matches at Twickenham against the Pacific Islanders, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. England officials issued a statement today saying they were in close contact with Newcastle's medical team but said they would not make any further announcements until the full extent of the injury was clear.

Wilkinson has lost years of his career to a succession of injuries and did not play for England for three years after kicking the winning drop goal in the 2003 World Cup final. If he were to be ruled out of the upcoming Tests, which kick off on Nov 8, it could clear the way for a call-up for Danny Cipriani, who is set to play for Wasps against Bath tonight having recovered more quickly than expected from a broken ankle near the end of last season. Cipriani had not been included in England's 32-man elite squad and, under the new agreement between the Rugby Football Union and the clubs, players can be added only in cases of injury replacement. *Reuters