Dowson delivers injury latest ahead of Saints' clash with Saracens

Phil Dowson says George Furbank is 'touch and go' as he bids to be available to face Saracens on Friday night.
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Furbank suffered a calf injury in England's final Guinness Six Nations game, away to France.

He was unable to feature for Saints at Bristol Bears last Friday night and remains a big doubt for this week's clash at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens.

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Saints boss Dowson said: "He's okay, slow progress, so he's touch and go for the weekend.

George Furbank (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)George Furbank (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
George Furbank (photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

"We'll hopefully know more as the week goes on but as it's a short turnaround again, it's a bit of a push for Furbs."

George Hendy started at full-back for Saints in Furbank's absence, but he too has now suffered an injury.

Hendy was forced off during the second half of the game at Ashton Gate due to concussion.

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"He's going through the graduated return to play for concussion so it's a full seven-day turnaround and we'll make decisions accordingly."

England star Tommy Freeman was rested against Bristol.

And Dowson said: "He's had a week off and hopefully he'll be refreshed and ready to get into it."

Saints have been hit by injuries at scrum-half, which prompted them to hand a first Premiership start to 19-year-old Archie McParland at Bristol last Friday.

After that game, Dowson was asked whether England man Alex Mitchell could be back to face Saracens.

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But Dowson said: "We're still talking to the medics about that.

"He's obviously dealing with a wrist issue at the moment so we need to make sure we look after him.

"If he's available, he's likely to be involved because he's been the best nine in the league."

Tom James and Callum Braley were both on the injured list last weekend.

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"Cal Braley has got a soft tissue injury so it's a very slow process getting him back," Dowson explained. "We're always very thorough with soft tissue injuries.

"TJ has a sore hand and it's dependent on his pain thresholds and how much he can get through. It's fairly stable but he wasn't available and we'll see how he is this week."

Saints have also had issues to deal with at tighthead.

Elliot Millar Mills was on the injury list last Friday, while Paul Hill had to pull out at late notice due to a problem picked up just before kick-off.

"Hilly just got a knock in the warm-up so hopefully he'll be back and we'll manage that this week," Dowson said.

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"Elliot Millar Mills picked up a little soft tissue injury up in Scotland in their team run or warm-up for the last game so he's coming back slowly but surely."

Tarek Haffar and Tom Pearson are now off the injury list but Saints will continue to manage the duo carefully, while Tom Seabrook has been sidelined since being forced off against Sale Sharks in the final warm-up match earlier this month.

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