Fracture to rule Itoje out of Six Nations opener
Maro Itoje is a doubt for the start of England's Six Nations campaign after Saracens confirmed the Lions lock fractured his jaw in the defeat by Harlequins on Sunday - potentially opening the door for a return to Eddie Jones's squad for the Wasps forward James Haskell.
Itoje is understood to have undergone an operation on his jaw after scans revealed he fractured it in a collision with England team-mate and Harlequins full-back Mike Brown.
Itoje will see a second specialist tomorrow after the swelling has eased to determine the length of his rehabilitation. It is thought the fracture may not be too serious but, even so, the 23-year-old could be up against it to prove his fitness for England's opener against Italy in Rome on February 4.
Anthony Watson, Itoje's England team-mate, was ruled out for two months and missed the entire autumn Test campaign in 2016, when he sustained a similar injury during a training camp in Brighton.
England are due to travel to Portugal for warm-weather training in mid-January and, if Itoje is unable to take part, he will struggle to be considered for selection for the Italy game.
The injury to Itoje, who was a nominee for World Rugby player of the year in Monte Carlo last week, also comes as a massive blow to Saracens, who have dropped to third place in the Premiership after three successive league defeats.
Mark McCall's side, who are also without England No 8 Billy Vunipola, who has been sidelined since September with a knee injury, face back-to-back Champions Cup matches against French powerhouse Clermont Auvergne in the next two weekends. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
Subscribe to The Left Wing, Independent.ie's Rugby podcast, with Luke Fitzgerald and Will Slattery for the best discussion and analysis each week. From in depth interviews with some of Irish rugby's biggest stars to unmatched insights into the provinces and the national team, The Left Wing has all your rugby needs covered.