France captain Antoine Dupont has had surgery on a fractured cheekbone sustained in the 96-0 win over Namibia.
The French Rugby Federation (FFR) said the scrum-half would return to France’s squad “in a few days” but has not confirmed how long he will be unavailable for.
Dupont, 26, went off in the 46th minute on Thursday after Johan Deysel made a head-on-head tackle and was sent off.
France’s final Rugby World Cup pool match is against Italy on 6 October.
“Following his injury sustained during the France-Namibia match, Antoine Dupont underwent surgery at Toulouse’s Purpan University on September 22 at around 11pm [local time],” the FFR said of the 2021 world player of the year.
“In a few days’ time, he will be able to return to the French team as part of a gradual sporting recovery under medical supervision.”
The quarter-finals are scheduled for the weekend of 14-15 October, the semi-finals the weekend after and the final on Saturday, 28 October.
Speaking on Friday, France attack coach Laurent Labit stressed Dupont would stay with the squad and that he had not “finished the competition” as the hosts bid to win the tournament for the first time.
“Antoine stays with us, everyone will be together,” Labit said. “We will do as we have always done with short-term injuries in hoping that the opinion of the surgeon is positive for Antoine and us.
“The specialist will give the verdict and Antoine will make the decision. We will respect that. We can’t think too far ahead.”
Mortlock expects Dupont return
Former Australia captain Stirling Mortlock told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Rugby Union Daily podcast he believes Dupont will play again at the World Cup.
Mortlock, who played 80 Tests for the Wallabies, said he had suffered a similar maxillo-zygomatic fracture to the France talisman during his playing career.
“I had a depressed one, it was late in the season and I had to have an operation to push it back out,” Mortlock said.
“If I would have been in this situation I would certainly have said to the surgeons ‘put a titanium plate in and I am going to play’.
“It really depends on how depressed and how significant the fracture is, but even if it is a significant one I would imagine they would be putting a titanium plate in there.”
He added: “I would be really surprised if we don’t see him later on in the World Cup.”
Former Ireland winger Tommy Bowe told Rugby Union Daily Argentina lock forward Tomas Lavanini also had a similar injury and was back playing “within three to four weeks”.
“It’s a shame for the competition but at the same time fingers crossed,” he said.
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