Saints boss Jim Mallinder says he is ‘really disappointed’ for Courtney Lawes after the lock suffered another injury setback.
Lawes could miss England’s remaining two Six Nations games after being diagnosed with a painful inflammation of the tibia in a scan yesterday.
Mallinder claims the Jimmy’s End giant will now be out for ‘a number of weeks’ meaning he is unlikely to play any part for England in France next weekend and against Ireland a week later.
Lawes missed the Red Rose’s opening two Six Nations encounters due to a knee problem, which has hampered his season at Saints.
He was able to make an appearance from the bench against Wales last weekend, losing possession in contact with Scott Williams, who went on to score what proved to be the winning try.
And that sour moment is now likely to be Lawes’ sole memory of this year’s competition as he has been told to put his feet up for the next few weeks.
“The results have come back and he seems to have suffered a slight problem there and he will be out for a number of weeks,” said Mallinder.
“It’s disappointing and he’s just going to have to put his foot up and take a bit of time to make sure he recovers so he can play again this season.
“He needs to go steady on it, not overdo it and if he does that he’ll be out for a few weeks but hopefully not too long.
“It’s been very difficult. He had a knee injury which kept him out for quite a long time and then of course he was just coming back and something else happens.
“Sometimes that happens, it’s a tough sport, the training’s tough and the way Courtney plays in games and on the training field is very, very physical.
“I’m really disappointed for him but he needs to look after himself, get himself fit and come back and finish the season strongly.”
And the news is a blow for England interim head coach Stuart Lancaster, who has seen Lawes return to Northampton to recover.
“It’s unfortunate for Courtney as he had just really got back into training with us,” said Lancaster.
“But we have to listen to expert medical opinion and if that means he has to keep the weight off his right leg to help him recover then we have to respect that and work with Saints to manage his recovery.”