Another knock to Wales' Six Nations campaign
Warburton was ruled out for four months after undergoing neck surgery on a "long-standing issue" in September.
The flank led the British and Irish Lions to a 1-1 series draw against New Zealand in June and July, despite struggling with an ankle injury in the build-up to the tour.
Having taken time to get up to speed ahead of the Tests against the All Blacks, Warburton does not anticipate being in a position to play any part for Warren Gatland’s side in February and March.
"I think if I did manage to play in the Six Nations next year then I’d see that as a big bonus," Warburton said in quotes reported by the BBC.
"I’m not going to get my hopes up, purely because I wouldn’t have played since July and like the Lions tour showed, it took me a good four games to get up to speed there.
"So I presume I need a good month of rugby at the [Cardiff] Blues before I can think about playing internationals again,"
Aside from Warburton, Scarlets centre Jonathan Davies will also miss the Six Nations due to a foot injury.
Davies sustained the injury during Wales' 21-29 loss to Australia last weekend and will be sidelined for up to six months.