Manu Tuilagi faces up to three months out and could miss the entire Six Nations with the injury he suffered on England duty.
Sale boss Alex Sanderson voiced his frustration after his prize asset was confirmed with a grade three hamstring tear.
The injury was sustained scoring for England just six minutes into the win over South Africa.
Tuilagi, 30, started the autumn in prime shape but went into Saturday’s Test match with heavy strapping on his right leg.
“I’m frustrated, of course I’m frustrated,” said Sanderson. “But I can’t say it’s England’s fault because all the medical advice would suggest this is a one-off.
“I’m really gutted; gutted for him and gutted because we were managing him well and then something like that happens.”
Tuilagi will discover later this week whether he needs surgery. If he does he is looking at 12 weeks out of all rugby.
Sanderson said a scan prior to the Boks game had revealed that Tuilagi had a “grade zero” hamstring tear.
“You’d love someone to blame in this circumstance. You’d love to point the finger at someone and say ‘it’s your fault’,” he added.
“But I’m sure England wouldn’t have pushed him through training if anything had shown up on that scan.”
However, Sanderson did add: “Manu is injury prone as we all know. Regardless of where he’s at in terms of what the scan has said is wrong with his hamstring, you have to pre-empt injury with Manu. That’s my understanding of him.
“That’s the tactic we’ve used and that’s why we’ve rested him as much as we did. If you overplay him, regardless of how he’s feeling, he’s going to get an injury.”
Saracens “hope” Owen Farrell could be back from ankle surgery “towards the end of January”. England open their Six Nations campaign in Scotland on Feb 5.
“We know he’ll get back as quickly as he can,” said boss Mar McCall. “Hopefully that’s in time to play a game or two for us before the Six Nations, but we’ll see on that.”
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