But he's earned himself a place on the bench against the visiting Azzurri - and is expected to play some part in a crucial fixture at Twickenham.
"You have to get stuck in," said Croft. "If you do not, you're more likely to get injured. You're better off going all in and finding out yourself.
"I'm aware of my neck, so I warm it up well, and I've altered the way I prepare in the week before a match. But in the game you just think about the game. You don't think about the injury."
England are still on course for a first Grand Slam since 2003, and Croft admits he's delighted to be welcomed back into a winning side.
"When you see a side going well, you don't expect them to make many changes. It's great to be re-joining a side that's playing well," he added.
"I was watching the autumn internationals going past, then I was watching the start of the Six Nations going past. And that was frustrating.
"When England beat the All Blacks, we were watching in the clubhouse at Leicester, and it was, 'Blimey, England are pulling New Zealand apart!'. And there's frustration that you're not involved. You want to be part of it."