Alun Wyn Jones hands Wales Six Nations fitness boost
Heineken Cup Pool Five: Saracens v Ospreys
- Wembley Stadium
- Saturday, 10 December
- 1800 GMT
- Live BBC Radio Wales & online commentary, live Radio Cymru commentary (Welsh language), score updates on the BBC Sport website, live on Sky Sports 1
Scott Johnson has given Wales coach Warren Gatland hope that Ospreys lock Alun Wyn Jones could return from injury in the middle of the Six Nations.
Gatland feared that second-row Jones, 26, would miss all the Six Nations matches after having surgery on a dislocated big toe.
But Ospreys chief Johnson hopes Jones will be back sooner, maybe for Wales' trip to England on 25 February.
"If there's anyone who can defy medical odds, it's this kid," said Johnson.
Wales host Italy at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, 10 March following their visit to Twickenham. Their final Six Nations match is at home to France in Cardiff on 17 March.
Jones' World Cup second-row partner Luke Charteris, who helped inspire Wales to fourth in New Zealand, has already been ruled out of the Six Nations with a wrist injury so Gatland will hope that the Ospreys captain is back sooner rather than later.
And Johnson, Ospreys' director of coaching, is confident Jones will make a quick recovery, emulating his rapid return to play in the Heineken Cup quarter-final against Biarritz after suffering an elbow injury in the 2010 Six Nations.
Jones suffered the toe problem in training in November and the 59-times capped Welshman is targeting a Six Nations return.
"We're talking about a kid whose big toe is really important for his position, with pushing, jumping and the like," said Johnson.
"The issue we have with the injury is in the medical journals, there's not a lot of history on the injury and length of absence.
"The scale is between eight and 69 weeks out and, even in the medical fraternity, it's quite a large scope we're talking here.
"The not knowing is the frustration. We're going to let nature take its course.
"We are trying to be positive because he defies logic.
"The injury that he came back from after the Six Nations and went to Biarritz, that was in half the duration that everyone expected.
"We'd like to think that the middle of the Six Nations, he'd be fine. The operation has been deemed a success. He is a competitor."
Jones will miss the Ospreys' remaining Heineken Cup pool games, with back-row Ryan Jones expected to move into the second-row to partner Ian Evans.
Evans' regional form earned him a Wales recall and he partnered Bradley Davies in Wales' December Test defeat to Australia.