Jim Mallinder is confident that Dylan Hartley will return to club action in the next couple of weeks after suffering a fracture to his eye socket during Fridayâ€™s victory of Wasps.
The Northampton Saintâ€™s coach confirmed that it is a small hairline fracture of the right eye socket, saying:
â€œHe has a very small hairline fracture to the eye socket. He will probably miss this week.â€
â€œIf we look after him, then he should be OK for a couple of weeks time.â€
The injury may look nasty as the photo Hartley put up on twitter demonstrates, but the news will have put England Head Coach, Stuart Lancasterâ€™s mind at ease, the timeframe for Hartleyâ€™s recovery ought to mean that he will be fit again in time for the Autumn Tests.
Hartley has become one of Englandâ€™s senior players under Lancaster, leading the side to a 14-14 draw in the 3rd Test in South Africa. With Lancaster refusing to confirm Chris Robshaw as his captain for this series, there is the very real possibility that Hartley could lead the side again.
Perhaps more critically though, England are currently desperately short of experienced hookers, with Bathâ€™s Lee Mears retiring over the summer and his clubmate Rob Webber out with a shoulder injury.
The relatively untried duo of Harlequinsâ€™ Joe Gray and Leicesterâ€™s Tom Youngs are waiting in the wings, but it would be a tough ask to throw them into a starting position against the top sides from the Southern Hemisphere.
England play Fiji, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, and Lancaster will no doubt be looking to try out a few new faces against Fiji ahead of sterner tests. He will be glad though that Hartley will seemingly be fit for action against the worldâ€™s top 3.