Injured Lawes close to Saints return

CLOSE TO RETURN - Courtney Lawes
CLOSE TO RETURN - Courtney Lawes

SAINTS boss Jim Mallinder says injured lock Courtney Lawes could be back in action ‘in the next week or two’.

Lawes missed the club’s pre-season games and the first two Premiership fixtures after suffering an elbow injury in training in the build up to the new campaign.

He was forced to have surgery to rectify the problem in July, but has been progressing well in recent weeks.

And Mallinder is now hopeful the England star could play a part in one or more of Saints’ remaining three games this month.

“He’s doing really well, he’s pushing and I’d like to think he’ll be playing again in the next week or two,” said the director of rugby.

Mallinder has also moved to quell fears that last season’s player of the year George Pisi could be set for a spell on the sidelines.

The centre, who scored two tries in the Premiership opening-day win at Gloucester, was forced off the pitch in the 35th minute against Exeter on Sunday, being replaced by Luther Burrell.

Burrell emerged as the super-sub as he scored a crucial try to turn the tide in Saints’ favour and help them beat the Chiefs 24-21.

Despite the replacement’s heroics, anxieties remained about Pisi’s withdrawal, but Mallinder has played down the problem the Samoan star picked up.

“He’s just got a little bit of a strain,” said Mallinder. “But we’ve got a big lad in Luther there desperate to come on, and I was pleased he made such a big impact.”