Eddie Jones is hoping for a "bit of luck" to end Manu Tuilagi's injury woes after the Leicester centre underwent further surgery in a bid to solve his troublesome knee problem.
Tuilagi, who had a knee operation in the close season, was missing from the 44-man England training squad named by Jones Thursday. The 27-year-old has won just one England cap since 2014 due to injury, playing a mere 16 minutes under Jones against Wales in 2016.
When asked whether he feared for Tuilagi, Jones responded: "Yes 100 percent. The kid just needs a bit of luck.
"I know he is working hard at his game. But he is that sort of player who puts himself in physical confrontational positions so we just hope he has a bit of luck.
"We would love to see him back at his best playing with power and verve and that aggression that you see from him and the skill and then if he does that he will certainly be someone we are going to look at very closely."
Leicester later confirmed Tuilagi's operation calling it a "minor procedure", with Tuilagi adding: "I should be right for the start of the season."
Even under the previous national regime, Tuilagi was the absent English hope, with Stuart Lancaster lamenting not having him at his disposal. Tuilagi has shown glimpses of that box-office talent in the last couple of years, the sort of form which saw him win British & Irish Lions caps in 2013, but those displays have been sporadic amid a spell pockmarked with injury.
Tuilagi's list of ailments is lengthy, including time on the sidelines with injuries to his cheekbone, hamstring, shoulder, pectoral muscles, groin, ACL and knee. He was so concerned about the run of bumps and bruises that he sought the help of a Samoan witchdoctor last year.
His latest setback comes after a season where he missed the opening three months when injuring his knee in the opening game and then had problems in the New Year with his pectoral muscles and calf.
Also missing from England's training squad were Anthony Watson, Jack Nowell and Billy Vunipola. Watson needed further treatment for the Achilles injury he picked up in the Six Nations.
"He [Watson] has had another operation on that and all the expectation is that he will bounce back very well," Jones said.
Nowell is making a solid recovery from ankle surgery and Jones will hope to have Vunipola back in contention for the autumn internationals after he re-fractured his forearm in the summer Test series against South Africa.