May limped off in the 42nd minute at Twickenham last Sunday after incurring the injury while kicking the ball and it has now emerged that he must go under the knife.
“Jonny has suffered a pretty significant knee injury that requires surgery,” Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys told the Gloucester Citizen.
He’s seeing a specialist on Tuesday and based on the outcome of that we will have a much clearer picture on what needs to be done.
“Most importantly, it is a huge blow for Jonny to suffer an injury like that at this stage of the season. But knowing him and his dedication, he will leave no stone unturned in his recovery.”
England open their RBS 6 Nations against Scotland on February 6 and given Humphreys’ bleak prognosis it seems highly unlikely that May will play any part of the Championship.
It is another twist in the roller-coaster career of the 25-year-old, who alongside Anthony Watson re-established himself as England’s first choice wing in the second half of this year with three tries in six appearances made in the build up to and during the World Cup.
Head coach Eddie Jones has already lost centre Henry Slade, back row Dave Ewers and prop Kieran Brookes to injury for all, or part, of the Six Nations.
Meanwhile Victor Matfield has revealed Northampton will go back to basics in the hope of igniting their season after senior players invoked the values of the club during an inquest into their poor start.
Saints host second-placed Exeter at Franklin’s Gardens tonight having lost four of their seven Aviva Premiership matches, leaving them six points adrift of the play-offs.
The lowest point of the campaign arrived with the 25-23 defeat at relegation candidates London Irish on Boxing Day, a result that prompted a period of introspection during a meeting of senior players that included former South Africa captain Matfield.
“This season been pretty difficult. One good game, one bad game, so we’re very up and down,” Matfield told BT Sport.
“We got together on Wednesday and I was fortunate enough to get called into the seniors’ meetings for the first time.
“The guys were talking about the DNA of Northampton and what Saints stand for. I don’t want to go through what that is, but it’s about getting back to that.
"We talked about going back to basics. If you do the basics very well, even if teams know what you’re going to do, you become very difficult to stop.”