British & Irish Lions legend Ieuan Evans insists success in this summer's tour of New Zealand does not rest on Jonny Wilkinson's fitness.
Wilkinson, 25, missed both the 2004 and 2005 RBS 6 Nations and has not played international rugby since the 2003 World Cup final after being struck down by a succession of different injuries and he is currently recovering from damaged knee ligaments.
Lions coach Sir Clive Woodward names the 44-man squad on April 11 and must decide whether to risk naming Wilkinson.
But Evans has insisted the fly-half's availability will neither make nor break the Lions' chances against the All Blacks this summer.
''I don't think we need to get too hung up on Jonny Wilkinson,'' said Evans.
''The success of this tour won't purely hinge on whether Jonny Wilkinson is available or not. There are too many quality players out there for that to be the case.
''If he is fit then there is no reason not to take him. But in making the selection you can always say that if you can't prove your fitness then that will have a bearing on whether you can go or not.
''Everyone will have that next to their name. If you get injured between now and the departure then you have got the ability to be dragged out of the tour.''
Woodward has a headache over the fitness of a number of potentially key players, with Phil Vickery, Richard Hill, Will Greenwood and Mike Tindall all on the recovery trail.
Four years ago, Lawrence Dallaglio was selected for the Lions tour having not fully recovered from a knee reconstruction - and the gamble backfired when he broke down a week before the first Test.
Graham Henry, the 2001 Lions coach who is now in charge of the All Blacks, insists he would make the same decision again because of the impact Dallaglio would have made had he been fit.
England's preparations for the Autumn International series were potentially dealt a further blow as Maro Itoje was forced to undergo an x-ray after Saracens' European victory over Scarlets on Saturday night.