Maro Itoje will be available for the start of England’s Six Nations title defence after Saracens revealed he faces a maximum of four more weeks in rehabilitation.
Itoje required surgery on a fractured jaw sustained in the 20-19 defeat at Harlequins on Dec. 3, resulting in two plates being inserted into his face and raising the alarm that he may not be fit to face Italy on Feb. 4.
But a visit to the specialist offered a diagnosis of up to six weeks in the treatment room, pointing to a return for the final two rounds of Saracens’ Champions Cup group campaign against the Ospreys and Northampton.
“Maro is probably three or four weeks away. He went to see the specialist who said a maximum of six weeks and he’s already done a week and a half,” director of rugby Mark McCall said.
Itoje, a Test British and Irish Lion, departed in the 48th minute at Twickenham Stoop following a collision with England team-mate Mike Brown.
The world player of the year nominee was given a reduced role in the autumn series due to Eddie Jones’ desire to manage his workload, missing the opener against Argentina, playing as a replacement for the visit of Australia before starting against Samoa.