England's Maro Itoje expected to be fit for Six Nations despite knee injury

Maro Itoje (centre) has chipped a bone in his knee. Henry Browne/Getty Images

Maro Itoje is expected to be fit for the start of the Six Nations in February after Saracens' director of rugby Mark McCall said the England forward does not need surgery to repair a knee injury.

Itoje, 24, was injured at England's training camp in Portugal before the start of the November internationals but played in all four of their tests as well as Saracens' Premiership and Champions Cup games.

The knee issue flared up at the start of the month in a Premiership game against Wasps and Itoje missed Sunday's 51-25 Champions Cup win over Cardiff Blues.

"It's not clear just how long it's going to be," McCall said on Sunday of Itoje's expected recovery time. "He's got a chip in his patella. It will be more than four [weeks] and less than eight, I would say.

"It doesn't require surgery or anything, so it will depend how the rehab goes. We had a CAT scan done, but he'll be back in time for the Six Nations."

England begin their Six Nations campaign against defending champions Ireland in Dublin on Feb. 2, and while the Itoje news will be welcomed by coach Eddie Jones he will be concerned about injuries suffered by Bath winger Joe Cokanasiga and Wasps' number eight Nathan Hughes over the weekend.