Manu Tuilagi and Courtney Lawes were both injured as Sale Sharks boosted their hopes of qualifying for the Premiership play-offs with a comfortable 34-14 win at Northampton Saints.
The fourth-placed Sharks scored six tries, including two in the first half from Luke James, to seal a routine win that puts them five points ahead of fifth-placed Bristol Bears.
However, their performance was overshadowed by blows suffered by England internationals Tuilagi and Lawes.
Northampton’s Lawes suffered a knee injury in the eighth minute and four minutes later Tuilagi, playing in his sixth game for Sale since a move from Leicester Tigers, was forced off with an apparent Achilles problem.
Tuilagi later returned to the stands on crutches, likely making him a doubt for the semi-finals should Sale qualify.
Bristol face Leicester in their game in hand on Wednesday, then travel to London Irish at the weekend. Sale, meanwhile, finish the regular season by taking on Worcester Warriors on Sunday.
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