The Wasps flanker was stretchered off in the second period, not long after coming on for his Six Nations debut in the 41-18 success.
He had already managed to score a try but then shrieked in agony when rolled away by Sebastian Negri at a breakdown.
Team-mates had to turn away as Willis’s knee crumpled and ITV chose not to show replays of the sickening injury as the forward received almost 10 minutes of on-field treatment.
The reigning Premiership Player of the Year – winning just his third cap after debuting in the autumn – missed 12 months of action after suffering an ACL injury in 2018.
“Injuries are always not a nice part of rugby but we all understand there’s a chance you can get injured,” said Jones after his side bounced back from their dismal tournament opener loss against Scotland.
“We all feel for him. It is very sad for a young guy who is just at the start of his international career; we’re all hoping it is not bad as we think it is.
“But you have to get on with it. He has to get on with it. He’ll get a scan and a diagnosis and then he has to rehab and get back. And he will. He’s a good young lad who is going to be a good player.”
England’s players were allowed to leave the squad ‘bubble’ yesterday and do not need to report back for action until Thursday when they will start preparations for the trip to Wales on Saturday week.
Asked what he learned most from the Italy victory, Jones, who came in for huge criticism for his side’s negative style in the shock Scotland loss, said: “It just reinforced what a honest, hard-working group we’ve got who want to play good positive rugby for England.
“I’m so privileged to be able to coach them. They don’t know how good they can be.”
People were certainly glad to see them playing with more ambition but it was against Italy, who have now lost 29 successive games in the Championship.
Wales, who have beaten Italy and Scotland in their opening two games, will be a different prospect.
Jones said: “We know it’s always a difficult game at the Principality.
“We’d like our set-piece to be more dominant and be better at taking our opportunities when we create them. We’ll work on that.”
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