amie George should still have the chance to prove his fitness for the start of the Six Nations despite withdrawing from England’s training camp.
The 72-cap hooker has stepped away from England’s training this week, and will undergo return-to-play protocols at Saracens after suffering a head injury in Sunday’s 20-14 loss at Edinburgh.
Saracens rugby director Mark McCall confirmed George will go through the 12-day phased return, leaving the 32-year-old possibly available to train next Thursday.
George must pass all the concussion-related tests, but could yet be available for England’s Six Nations opener against Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday, February 4.
“Jamie is going to do the normal 12-day gradual return-to-play process, and he’s going to do that with us, certainly to begin with, this week,” said McCall.
“My understanding of it is he could train fully on Thursday week if all the boxes are ticked, and could potentially be able to take part in non-contact training on the Tuesday.”
George was sent for a Head Injury Assessment (HIA) as well as receiving a yellow card for a tackle on Edinburgh’s Luke Crosbie in Sunday’s Champions Cup clash. The Lions front-rower returned to action but was later removed at half-time.
Saracens boss McCall insisted all processes were followed correctly, with the independent match doctor and tournament chiefs EPCR both satisfied.
Newcastle’s Jamie Blamire has replaced George in England training this week, but the door remains open for the experienced campaigner to return.
“Jamie was obviously involved in a tackle that suggested there had been a head impact,” said McCall. “And the need for a HIA process was identified and he passed that process with all the medics agreeing with that, both the independent doctor and our own doctor.
“And he returned to the field, and at half-time the footage was reviewed both by our doctor and the independent doctor. The decision to remove him from the field was taken, and I think that was the right decision.
“There’s a process to follow, the process was followed correctly, we’ve been told by EPCR that the process was followed completely correctly. We’ll always review ourselves in these situations to make sure we do things as well as we can.”
Elliot Daly has also stepped away from the England squad this week, with a hamstring problem, with Bath’s Ollie Lawrence drafted in.
McCall continues to hold out hope that Daly can shake off the issue quickly, having forced his way back into the England squad for the first time in a year.
“We’re just trying to explore how serious the hamstring injury is and that’s ongoing,” said McCall.
“It would be cruel luck [if the injury lasts]; he’s done everything he needed to do to work his way back into the international squad. Let’s wait and see.”