England boss Stuart Lancaster admits Luther Burrell is unlikely to be fit in time to face New Zealand on November 8 - but says the Saints centre will not need surgery on his hand injury.
Burrell picked up the problem early in the second half of his club’s 34-6 victory against Ospreys in the Champions Cup.
He required an X-ray and is being sent to see a specialist to assess the full extent of the damage.
And Lancaster is unlikely to risk the 26-year-old against the All Blacks, with Tests against Australia, Samoa and South Africa following on consecutive weekends.
“I think it would be tight for New Zealand, if I’m being honest,” Lancaster said.
“He’s not been in camp this week at all. He’s seeing the specialist and it will probably unfold over the weekend.
“He’s still in the equation further down the line. He’s definitely not out the series. We’ll see how he goes.
“If the specialist is positive, then potentially he could come back into camp next week, but he won’t have done any of the work.
“It would be a big step to put him in (against New Zealand).
“We’re a little bit more optimistic than originally, and there will certainly be no surgery at the moment.”