Saracens player Jackson Wray is expected to return to action in February – just weeks after fracturing his skull in a Gallagher Premiership game against Northampton.
Wray, 31, was named on the bench for the clash at Franklin’s Gardens, but replaced Billy Vunipola at half time.
The back-rower’s presence seemed to have the desired effect with the visitors scoring 24 unanswered points in the second half, not that Wray would have remembered too much about it after clashing heads with a team-mate just minutes from the final whistle.
He played on until the end though, seemingly unaware of the extent of the damage, with the win helping the club cement second spot in the table behind Leicester Tigers.
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However, director of rugby Mark McCall later told reporters about Wray’s ordeal.
“It happened with about two minutes to go in the game, just a clash of heads with one of our players,” he said.
“Jackson didn’t feel it was a concussion, he felt it was a crack. He felt there was something different about it.
“He is up and about, and he has been in the club the last couple of days. He is fine in himself.”
The star himself then took to Twitter after receiving numerous well-wishes.
“Thanks for all the messages guys, injuries are unfortunately part of the game we love. Look forward to being back on the field with the boys!” he tweeted.
The club have now confirmed he is expected to return to action in ‘four to six weeks’, after seeing a specialist who declared himself happy with the progress made.
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His return could prove a timely one, with a number of the club’s star players expected to be on England duty for the 2022 Six Nations tournament.
Wray came through Saracens’ academy and has made more than 250 club appearances since his first-team debut in 2010.
He was named in the Premiership Rugby Team of the Year at the end of the 2016/17 season, and during his time with the English giants has won four Premiership titles in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019, with Wray featuring in all four finals.
He also helped Saracens win the European Champions Cup in 2016, 2017 and 2019.
In July 2020, he signed a contract extension with Saracens until the end of the 2022–23 season.