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The British and Irish Lions will see how Alun Wyn Jones responds to a double training session on Tuesday before making a decision on whether to fly him to South Africa.
Jones’ remarkable recovery from the dislocated shoulder that appeared to have ended his tour in the opening match against Japan on June 26 has reached a decisive phase.
The sport’s most capped player is training with Wales this week and, if his shoulder withstands Tuesday’s run-outs, he will rejoin the Lions squad in time for Saturday’s clash with the Stormers.
Warren Gatland is likely to make a call on Wednesday morning once any after-effects from training are known.
“I know Al’s doing some stuff back home and we’ll obviously see how that goes first. I’m sure Warren will make a call when needed,” kicking coach Neil Jenkins said.
“Nothing’s beyond Al, there’s no doubting that. He’s an incredible person and player, on and off the pitch. He’s incredibly diligent and works extremely hard.
“If he does get injured I know how hard he works to get himself back as quickly as possible.
“Nothing surprises me with Al and if he is able to join us at some point in time, it would certainly boost him and everybody involved with the squad.”
If Jones returns to the Lions squad it would be a stunning development that would catapult him into contention to start the first Test against South Africa in Cape Town on July 24.
Named as the original tour captain, the Wales skipper was replaced by Conor Murray when it seemed as though he would play no further part in the expedition against the world champions.
“It’s good to see Alun amongst the environment and he’s obviously got an end goal for it,” Wales defence coach Gethin Jenkins said as his team continued preparations for their second Test against Argentina.
“We’ll see how he gets through this (Tuesday) afternoon. He’s got to get through one more session and then there’s a few decisions to be made.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow, not to go on the tour after that Japan game. He’ll be doing everything he can to get back out there.”
Warren Gatland initially raised the possibility of Jones making a “miracle” recovery shortly after the Lions squad arrived in Johannesburg a fortnight ago.
Now that the prospect of Jones reinforcing the Lions in time for the Test series has moved a step closer, his long-term Wales team-mate Ken Owens insists he is unsurprised by a stunning development.
“If he manages to do it that would be absolutely incredible, but I’ve known him a long time and it wouldn’t be a surprise at all,” Owens said.
“The way he recovers and what he does to put himself in a position to do that is a credit to him and why he’s been playing at the top level for so many years.
“There’s been a suggestion he may come out and if he does that it will be a huge lift for the squad.
“Conor has done a fantastic job since being named captain after the Japan game. If Alun Wyn comes back it will only add to that – the voice and the leadership.
“Pre-injury he was absolutely phenomenal and given what he’s achieved in the game it can only be a positive for us if he does come out for the Test series.”