Springbok World Cup squad hopeful Warren Whiteley breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday when it was revealed he would only be out of action for a few weeks after picking up a knee injury last weekend.
It was initially feared that the Lions No 8 and captain could be sidelined for a lengthy period after hurting his knee against the Chiefs in Hamilton almost two weekends ago. It was his first game back in action after being out of the game for seven weeks, having picked up a chest injury in round two of this year’s Super Rugby competition.
Whiteley has suffered an array of different injuries in the last three years and he would have feared the worst after the Chiefs game, and just five months out from the Japan-based World Cup and he being a strong contender for the 31-man squad.
The good news though is he will only miss a few weeks of action after it was found that he’d torn some cartilage in his knee, which the Lions management team hope will settle over the next few weeks. His Super Rugby campaign though may well be over; the Lions having just six round-robin games left to play.
Fellow loose-forward Cyle Brink also picked up a knee injury on the Lions’ recent tour of Australasia – against the Crusaders last weekend – but he should be fit to play against the Waratahs next weekend when the Lions are next in action. They have a bye this weekend.
One player though who’ll be worried about the rest of his year is utility back Sylvian Mahuza. He has a “LCL” injury of the left knee which has prompted the Lions to investigate further.
Already out for the year is rookie flyhalf Gianni Lombard, who will spend the next nine months on the sidelines after he, too, tore and ruptured ligaments and tendons in his knee in the game against the Chiefs recently.
Other potential first choice Lions players currently sidelined include Lourens Erasmus and Dylan Smith.