Flanker Tom Curry has been ruled out of England's first two Six Nations games after suffering a hamstring tear in Sale Sharks' Premiership win over Harlequins on Sunday.
Curry, who has won 45 caps and captained England for the first time in last year's Six Nations, will miss the matches against Scotland and Italy but could return against Wales on Feb. 25, Sale boss Alex Sanderson said.
"It's not as bad as we thought," Sanderson told reporters. "A 3c [grade tear] would have been six to eight weeks [out], and he would have been looking to play at the back end of the Six Nations.
"With it being a 2c and Tom being very diligent on his rehab, it means he could be back [to face] Wales."
England are already without hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie for the start of the tournament after he sustained an ankle injury. They will kick off their campaign at Twickenham against Scotland on Feb. 4 under new head coach Steve Borthwick.