Saturday 3 December 2016

Former Munster star Jean de Villiers feared he'd never walk again, now targeting 'miracle' rugby return

Published 07/05/2015 | 10:44

Springboks captain Jean de Villiers is taken from the ground with a knee injury during his side's loss to Wales in Cardiff.
Springboks captain Jean de Villiers is taken from the ground with a knee injury during his side's loss to Wales in Cardiff.

South African centre Jean De Villiers says he is targeting a July return to action and praised the medical staff who have performed wonders following his horrific knee injury.

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The Springbok captain not only feared his playing career was over following the injury suffered in the 12-6 loss to Wales in Cardiff last November, there was speculation he may never even walk again.

The 32-year-old, who spent the 2009/10 season with Munster, says he is expecting to return to action in July despite a catalogue of previous injuries prior to the latest gruesome set-back.

"The way I've recovered these last five months has been nothing short of a miracle. When I was laying there on the Cardiff turf in severe pain, I thought to myself I'd be lucky if I ever walk again," De Villiers told Afrikaans news website Netwerk24.

"But the specialists and medical personnel have performed wonders and they even made use of artificial ligaments to help rebuild my knee."

De Villiers' rundown of his previous injuries just how fortunate he is to be in a position to return to action.

"I've had six knee ops and what they usually do if you've got an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) rupture is either take your hamstring or quad tendon and use that as a graft to put into the ligament. In my case, my hamstring tendon was used already, so was my quad tendon," De Villiers explained.

"The other side's hamstring tendon was also used as well. The PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) was also off, so they took artificial ligaments and put that in the ACL and PCL.

"I tore my ACL, PCL, MCL (medial collateral ligament), had a Patella dislocation and a hamstring (tear)... but the rest was fine."

With the Super Rugby season finishing in July, and the Currie Cup not starting until August, De Villiers is likely to return to club rugby to get game time under his belt.

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