Handre Pollard, universally known as the saviour of South African rugby, was reportedly just weeks away from having his arm amputated during his latest injury setback.
The 22-year-old flyhalf underwent surgery for a long standing shoulder problem when a knee injury ruled him out of the entire season for his club's preseason training. Unfortunately the former Junior World player of the year - the grooves on the screws inserted into his shoulder became infected.
Pollard had to be hospitalised and needed an intravenous antibiotics. The doctors warned him that the infection was so severe that he might lose his arm:
There was a possibility, they told me that early on, but luckily we identified it as early as possible, if we had let it go another month or so there was a big chance of that.
Everything was sorted quite quickly, there was a possibility of that but fortunately I’ve still got all my limbs and can play some rugby.
Pollard's absence was noticeable during the Ireland series when South Africa lacked direction and consistency at outhalf. He was expected to be back at some point this year, but he won't be back on the pitch after this until February.