Italy coach John Kirwan hopes England star Jonny Wilkinson can defy the medics and recover in time to play against his men in their RBS 6 Nations Tournament opener in Rome.
The Newcastle fly-half is looking unlikely to play at the Flaminio Stadium on February 15 as he is recovering from shoulder and neck problems and may also miss the next game with Scotland.
"I would prefer it if he (Jonny Wilkinson) played because I want my players to face the best England team," Kirwan said.
"This week I will be able to evaluate the condition of my players and to start practising the new technical changes, in both attack and defence, that I want to implement in the tournament."
The Azzurri return to training in Treviso in order to continue their preparation for the tournament but ARD Rovigo flanker David Dal Maso will not take part in the exercise after breaking his arm on Sunday.
"It is a blow for the player as he is going to be out for at least 20 days and it would have been a good opportunity for him," said the former All Blacks player.
Kirwan will announce his official squad for the RBS 6 Nations Tournament on Wednesday which will include enforced changes following the absence of some regular players.
Captain Alessandro Troncon, Mauro Bergamasco and Francesco Mazzariol are all ruled out due to injury.
"With respect to the team selection, there are going to be some changes, not drastic ones but due to the injuries of several players I will have to make some alterations."