CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – Jean de Villiers has “significant” knee ligament damage and will likely find out later this week if he has a realistic chance of recovering in time to captain South Africa at next year’s World Cup.
The centre dislocated his knee cap in the Springboks’ 12-6 loss to Wales in Cardiff on Saturday and scans have revealed the damage is extensive, with no timeframe yet put on his recovery.
“The scans revealed significant ligament damage to the inside of his knee and the supporting muscles,” team doctor Craig Roberts said in a news release on Sunday.
“Jean will return to South Africa and see an orthopaedic specialist in Cape Town early in the week. He has had previous surgery on this knee and the further management of the injury is dependent upon the specialist’s recommendations.”
The loss of De Villiers, both as a captain and key decision-maker in the backline, would be a significant blow to South Africa’s chances at the Sept 18 – Oct 31 tournament in England.
The 33-year-old injured his knee five minutes into his Springboks debut against France in 2002 and did not play for the national side again for almost two years.