The 29-year-old loosehead was taken off during the second half of Scotland’s 20-17 defeat by Wales in Cardiff last weekend and, having reported back to his club team Worcester Warriors, they fear that the ex-Edinburgh man could be out of action for a number of weeks.
Worcester first-team manager Steve Diamond’s initial prognosis for Sutherland’s recovery time is four-to-six weeks, but there is also a concern that his rib issue may keep him out for longer, with the Gallagher Premiership outfit awaiting final medical results.
Scotland’s next match in the Six Nations is against France at BT Murrayfield on Saturday, February 26, before trips to Rome and Dublin to play Italy and Ireland on March 12 and 19 respectively.
Given Diamond’s original estimate, Sutherland is certain to miss the games against the French and the Italians, with only an outside chance of making the tournament finale against the Irish.
Sutherland has become an important member of the Scottish forward line and was rewarded last year for his fine form with a place in the British & Irish Lions touring squad in South Africa. He played two Tests against the Springboks.
Edinburgh prop Pierre Schoeman is likely to deputise for Sutherland, while Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend also has London Irish’s Allan Dell available in that position after he was called in to replace Glasgow’s injured Jamie Bhatti.