Dylan Hartley will be out for the next few weeks – but Saints are confident their skipper still has a part to play this season.
The England hooker was forced off in the 33rd minute of last weekend’s game at Franklin’s Gardens after trying to clear Leicester’s Ed Slater out of a ruck.
Hartley left the ground with his right arm in a sling and is not in the squad for tonight’s (Thurs) game at Sale.
When asked about Hartley’s injury at Saints’ pre-match press day, forwards coach Dorian West said: “Dylan took a blow on his shoulder, we’ve had a look at that and there’s a few bits and bobs in there and we’ll see how he goes in the next few weeks.”
It appears Hartley’s injury will rule him out for a prolonged spell, with Mike Haywood likely to have to deputise.
The 22-year-old is not in the squad and will play no part in the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final, with Saints understood to be resting him for a key run of games ahead.
Haywood, who has made 26 appearances so far this season, stood in for Hartley while the England star played all five Six Nations games.
And it looks as though he will now be asked to fill in again, with Ross McMillan set to provide back-up from the bench as Saints go in search of a place in the May 31 Aviva Premiership final.