Manu Tuilagi may feature for England for the first time since 2016 when they face Australia later this month, according to defence coach John Mitchell.
The last of centre Tuilagi's 26 England caps came against Wales at Twickenham in March 2016, with injury and disciplinary issues keeping him sidelined, but he has returned to form and fitness with club side Leicester Tigers this term.
A groin strain prevented Tuilagi from featuring in the first two of this month's internationals against South Africa and New Zealand, and the 27-year-old has also been ruled out of this Saturday's clash with Japan.
However, Mitchell revealed England's coaching staff are hopeful Tuilagi can be involved against Australia on November 24.
"Manu is progressing nicely - he's at a stage where we want to be 100 per cent sure," Mitchell told reporters.
"He was doing some running intervals with the medical team. We’ll make a decision once he's at 100 per cent but we're working him towards the Australia game.
"It's an adductor injury that needs to be trained at high intensity. He hasn't reached high intensity yet, so he's progressing towards that.
"He'll need to experience that and then we'll get feedback from him as an athlete and vice versa on what we see."