George North has been omitted from the Northampton Saints squad to face Sale Sharks despite director of rugby Jim Mallinder hinting he could soon return to duty.
North has been out of action since appearing to suffer concussion in the 19-11 loss to Leicester Tigers on December 3.
The Wales international was controversially allowed to play on at Welford Road, a decision that was this week condemned by Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Football Union's Concussion Management Review Group.
Prior to that ruling, which saw the club escape sanction, Mallinder confirmed North has returned to training.
But the 24-year-old winger will not be involved when Sharks arrive at Franklin's Gardens on Friday.
Your Saints are... pic.twitter.com/OYfCoocYUG-- Northampton Saints (@SaintsRugby) December 22, 2016