Joe Burgess is a major doubt for the Four Nations.
Shaun Wane has confirmed the winger needs a hernia operation which is threatening to rule him out of the tournament.
The surgery is not major and it is not expected to impact on his pre-season preparations.
But with the England squad selected next week, it could force him to miss out.
Burgess finished the NRL campaign in strong form for Michael Maguire’s Souths, following a mid-season switch from Sydney Roosters.
His loss would be a blow to new coach Wayne Bennett, who is already without Sam Tomkins, Sean O’Loughlin and Warrington’s Ben Currie through injury, and Brisbane centre Jack Reed, who has retired.
Burgess played in the first two Tests against New Zealand last autumn, before being replaced by Huddersfield’s Jermaine McGillvary for the series-clincher at the DW Stadium.
Burgess re-signed for Wigan after struggling to break into the Roosters side.
But after putting pen to paper, he moved to the Rabbitohs on a short-term deal and had much more success – and many observers believe Wigan did well to get his signature.
Burgess himself has admitted he wants to return to the NRL in the future.
He will replace Sale-bound Josh Charnley in the Warriors line-up in 2017.
The 21-year-old was introduced to the crowd at half-time during Wigan’s 48-24 win against Catalans.
Wigan still have previously-capped John Bateman, Dan Sarginson, George Williams, Matty Smith and Liam Farrell in the England frame.
They warm-up for the Four Nations with a Test against France, in Avignon, on October 22.