As Dan Cole continues to recover from major surgery, Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill insists he will not put the British and Irish Lions prop at risk by forcing a premature return.
The 27-year-old, who featured in all three Tests as Warren Gatland's team triumphed in Australia last year, has been sidelined since February with a long-standing neck injury aggravated while training with England.
Cole was consequently forced to undergo surgery on a compressed disc and Cockerill is prepared to wait for as long as is necessary before restoring one of his crown jewels to the Tigers front row.
"He is coming along well. It is just a waiting game," he told the Leicester Mercury.
"There is no specific target for Dan. We are hoping October, November time, but if that ends up being December or January then that's fine.
"It is just about getting him right, especially in such an important part of his body there will be no risks taken there."