England have been handed a reprieve regarding the fitness of star back-row Ben Earl, with Saracens revealing he should be fit in time for the Six Nations.
The 25-year-old was one of the standout players at the Rugby World Cup as he grabbed the number eight jersey with both hands, putting in all-action showings.
However, he suffered a knee injury – which teammate Jamie George described as “pretty freakish” – over the weekend while on club duty with Saracens in the Premiership, which sparked concerns over the international’s fate.
Saracens today issued a positive update on the injury he picked up during the warm-up before their match against Harlequins as he left The Stoop on crutches.
There were real concerns that Earl might face a significant spell on the sidelines, but a scan has revealed medial meniscus damage, which has now been repaired.
Saracens announced that the back-row should return to action in January, which gives him a short period of game time to prove his fitness for the Six Nations.
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“Ben had a minor knee procedure this morning. We anticipate he will be out for between four to six weeks. Overall, I think that would be a good result,” director of rugby Mark McCall said.
“We’re all pleased it’s not a serious long-term injury. I think he will be playing in the month of January.
“There are three or four games in January, so that would be ample time for Ben to get in.
“He’s had a busy time with a lot of minutes in August, September and October, so to have a six-week period not playing rugby might actually be good for him in the long run.”
There was also better news for fellow Saracens and England teammate Elliot Daly, who is back in training after pulling out of last weekend’s game as a precaution.
However, centre Alex Lozowski is set for a stint out of rugby as he requires surgery on an ACL injury. Next week’s operation will determine his possible return date.
“Alex has been such a reliable, good player for us since he arrived, and I can’t remember the last time he was injured,” McCall added.
“As far as I know, it’s as clean an ACL injury as you can get, which can impact how quickly you come back.”
Lozowski joins second-row Callum Hunter-Hill on the treatment table after Saracens confirmed he has had an operation and is expected to return in four months.
Saracens, who sit fourth on the table, are currently preparing for this weekend’s home league clash with Bristol Bears and host Northampton the following Saturday.