Wood was one of the leading contenders for the England captaincy ahead of the 2012 Six Nations but never got on the pitch due to a foot injury and could only watch as Chris Robshaw led the side.
England finished second under the 26-year-old Robshaw, losing only to eventual Grand Slam champions Wales at Twickenham 19-12.
Wood, one year Robshaw’s junior, then missed the South Africa tour but Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder is factoring him in to his team’s plans for 1 September.
But Lawes, who made his Test debut in 2009, is set for a later return date in October to allow for his dislocated shoulder to fully heal – leaving Mallinder with mixed emotions.
“They’re both making massive progress,” said Mallinder. “I’d like to think that [for the Gloucester match], Tom will be 100 per cent fit.
“It was massively unfortunate regarding Courtney. He was coming good with his shin problem and getting back to full fitness.
“He had a little accident wrestling and dislocated his elbow. He probably won’t make the beginning of the season but we’d expect him to be back by late September or early October.”
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