British & Irish Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones will return to the squad after making a remarkable recovery from dislocating his shoulder against Japan in June, coach Warren Gatland announced on Wednesday.
Jones had been ruled out for the rest of the tour after sustaining the injury on June 26 but passed a fitness test on Wednesday which will allow him to meet up with the squad in South Africa.
The Wales lock will fly out on Thursday, having spent time training with his national side in recent days.
“We are delighted to welcome Alun Wyn back,” Gatland said in a statement.
“It’ll come as no surprise to anyone who knows Alun Wyn that since injuring his shoulder against Japan, he’s done everything he can to get himself back.
“It’s remarkable really when you consider it’s just 18 days since he left us in Edinburgh.
“He’s been training with the Wales squad at the Vale since last week and yesterday he had a proper hit out. Following assessment from the medical staff this morning we’re satisfied he’s fit to return.
“He’s obviously raring to go and from what I’ve seen on video and the feedback we’ve received, he’s certainly not been holding himself back in training. He was really getting stuck in yesterday.
“It’s a massive boost for the Lions to welcome a player of Alun Wyn’s stature back.”
The Lions play South Africa ‘A’ on Wednesday and the Stormers on Saturday ahead of the first Test on July 24.