Jonny Wilkinson is likely to be ruled out of England's autumn internationals.
The Newcastle fly-half, 26, missed the game against Bristol after an operation to remove a grumbling appendix and could be out of action for six weeks.
Wilkinson seemed to be over the problem, which first flared up on the pre-season tour to Japan, but felt unwell in the recent game against Bath.
Falcons director of rugby Rob Andrew said: "It's disappointing that we and Jonny have to go through this again."
Andrew added: "It's just the way things are. It's starting to verge on the bizarre.
"It's probably put paid to the autumn internationals for him and it's going to be two years since he played for England, and for us, for that matter.
"All Jonny's injuries and problems have been unrelated and he is getting to be very philosophical about things, but in his position, what do you do? He has just got to get back on the horse and play and he'll be back, he'll be fine.
"The answer is to let him play before getting into picking him for England. Let's just let the bloke play and give him a chance to get back and then make a judgement.
"Everyone knows he wasn't comfortable on the Lions tour to be thrown in out of position against the best team in the world and we don't want to make that mistake again do we?"
If Wilkinson fails to recover, he will miss the autumn internationals against Australia, New Zealand and Samoa.