LEICESTER, England (AP) — England flanker Tom Croft will miss the November tests and the 2014 Six Nations after being ruled out for the season on Wednesday with knee ligament damage.

Croft, one of England's most experienced players, has undergone surgery after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in his club side Leicester's 32-15 win over Worcester on Sunday. That was his first competitive match of the new English season.

It's the latest injury setback for the 27-year-old blindside, who returned in January from eight months out with a career-threatening broken neck. So integral is he to England that he was thrown into the team for the Six Nations decider against Wales in March and was selected to tour Australia with the British and Irish Lions this summer, playing in the first two tests.

"It's horrendous bad luck for Tom because it is only last year that he came back from a very bad neck injury and did so well for England, (and) the Lions as well," said Leicester coach Richard Cockerill, who initially thought Croft's injury was a "relatively innocuous" bang on the knee.

"But these things happen. Tom will make a full recovery, but it's his season over."

England coach Stuart Lancaster has a ready-made replacement at blindside in Tom Wood, who captained the country on tour to Argentina this summer.

Chris Robshaw, who had the armband last season and but was rested for the Argentina tour, could also switch from openside to blindside — his best position.

England plays Australia, Argentina and New Zealand this autumn.