Alun Wyn Jones will attend Wales’ Guinness Six Nations camp this week to continue his rehabilitation, the Welsh Rugby Union have confirmed.
The 36-year-old has been out of action since injuring his shoulder in the November defeat to the All Blacks but will now join Wayne Pivac’s men at their Vale Resort HQ.
While the statement from the WRU does not provide a time frame on Jones’ return to action, Pivac previously refused to rule out another Lazarus-style comeback from the Wales great.
Jones stunned the world last summer when he recovered from a dislocated shoulder to start all three Tests for The British & Irish Lions on their Tour to South Africa.
Speaking at the Championship launch, Pivac said he would not be surprised if Jones defied the odds once again to make an appearance at some point during the Guinness Six Nations.
“Never say never. I probably wouldn’t enter into the conversation if it was anyone else to be quite honest, but the guy has broken so many records,” said Pivac when asked about Jones.
“I honestly say that I would never say never but it’ll be a long shot, let’s just say that, but Alun Wyn is working incredibly hard behind the scenes to get himself in the best shape possible to be as ready as quickly as he can for Ospreys or Wales.”
Test rugby’s most-capped player, Jones is a five-time Championship winner with Wales – including three Grand Slams – but was expected to miss this year’s edition.
Dan Biggar has taken the captaincy in Jones’ place although it appears the door has not quite been shut on an unlikely return from the lock in the final two rounds.
The squad update from Wales also confirmed the players who have been released back to their regions this weekend and will be available for the United Rugby Championship.
Rhys Carre, Willis Halaholo, Ellis Jenkins, James Ratti (all Cardiff Rugby), Aaron Wainwright (Dragons) and Gareth Davies (Scarlets) could all feature for their clubs this weekend.
They will rejoin Wales camp after their regions’ matches to continue preparations for the Round 4 Guinness Six Nations match against France on Friday night (11 Feb, KO 8pm).
Rhys Priestland has also been released back to Cardiff Rugby due to a calf injury.
Wales are currently fifth in the Guinness Six Nations standings, having lost to Ireland and England either side of a 20-17 victory over Scotland. After facing Les Bleus, Pivac’s men finish up against Italy in Round 5.