6N: Knee injury rules England lock Itoje out of next 2 games

Ireland's Cian Healy runs at England's Maro Itoje, right, during the Six Nations rugby union international between Ireland and England, in Dublin, Ireland, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

LONDON — Maro Itoje has damaged right knee ligaments and the lock will miss England's next Six Nations rugby matches against France and Wales.

England expects Itoje will be available for the last rounds against Italy and Scotland next month.

The British and Irish Lions star suffered a grade two tear of the medial ligament while England was upsetting Ireland 32-20 on Saturday in Dublin. He was cleared out in a ruck and limped off in the 54th minute.

Itoje unknowingly chipped his right kneecap in training in November before England's last international that month against Australia. He played all 80 minutes plus a club game for Saracens before the knee swelled up and the injury was discovered. He was out for five weeks.

His clubmate Nick Isiekwe, who has three England caps, was picked in a 35-man squad on Tuesday for the test against France on Sunday at Twickenham.

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