But the Leicester centre, whose career has been ravaged by a succession of groin, knee and hamstring injuries, has trained fully this week and is included in a 25-man squad to continue preparations for the headline fixture of the autumn.
His performance against the All Blacks in 2012 inspired a 38-12 victory that sent Twickenham into delirium.
"I was gutted when he pulled out, but it was a tiny niggle".
"We won't risk him, he's either 100 per cent fit or he's not".
'It's great to see him running around in training. "We're really excited about the opportunity and I'm very excited and I know that my team-mates echo that as well".More news: Le'Veon Bell back in Pittsburgh but no word on meeting team
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"We know what a world-class operator Manu is", Youngs told Sky Sports. 'Seeing him in your team settles the boys down knowing he is there.
Two years ago the world was desperate to see the two top-ranked teams meet but since England's slide into five successive defeats it is next week's Ireland versus New Zealand encounter that pits numbers one and two against each other.
"They put a lot of pressure on the All Blacks in areas they didn't enjoy - there's a bit to be learned there", said Jones, who will also have been encouraged by South Africa's recent win and agonising near miss against them. You know against New Zealand you're going to have score tries, simply trying to slot penalties probably isn't going to be enough because of the threat they pose. We know that, ' Youngs said.
"We don't want to get lost in what they do and how they play and everything like that".