England are not giving up hope that injured trio Alex Corbisiero, Ben Foden and Marland Yarde will be able to play some part in the Six Nations.
Head coach Stuart Lancaster included them in the training squad called to Pennyhill Park on Monday to begin preparations for the tournament opener against France on February 1.
Northampton Saints prop Corbisiero continues to battle knee trouble, while club-mate Foden has knee ligament problems.
London Irish flyer Yarde ruptured a tendon in his hip in November and was initially ruled out of contention for the entire tournament.
But the 21-year-old's prognosis has continued to improve and this step is the first significant proof England are not ready to accept defeat in his fitness battle.
Lancaster will also have been buoyed that his squad met at their base near Bagshot in Surrey with no new injury concerns.