Sam Tomkins will miss the start of next season, Shaun Wane has confirmed.
Last week’s capture of French full-back Morgan Escare heightened concerns Tomkins’ foot injury would drag into 2017.
How long it’s going to be, I’m not sure. It’s quite a complex oneShaun Wane
And Wane has admitted for the first time they will start Super League XXII without their marquee player in the side.
But - because of the nature of the injury – he is not yet able to put a recovery time-frame on when Tomkins may be back in action.
“With Sam, it’s going to eat into next year,” said Wane.
“How long it’s going to be, I’m not sure. It’s quite a complex one.”
Tomkins missed Wigan’s last three matches through the injury, including the 12-6 Grand Final triumph against Warrington.
It also ruled him out of the upcoming Four Nations with England.
It was a disappointing end to the campaign for the 27-year-old, who missed the start of the season with a knee injury.
With Dan Sarginson departing for the NRL – and Lewis Tierney, the other candidate to play full-back, finishing the season in the wing spot in place of injured Dom Manfredi – it prompted Wane to recruit Escare for 2017.
Wane revealed they beat competition from several clubs to land the French international, who can also play on the wing.
“When we’ve played Catalans, he’s always caused us problems,” said Wane.
“He’s hard to close down, he’s very fast, very exciting, and I’m looking forward to working with him.
“There was a lot of interest in him but he was as keen to come to us as we were to get him.
“He pushed it, which told me he was the type of player we want.”
Escare is one of four recruits for 2017 along with prop Romain Navarrete and former Wigan players Joe Burgess and Thomas Leuluai.