Sharks prop Patric Cilliers endured yet another injury scare last week when he twisted his troublesome right knee. However, Sharks Super 14 team doctor Craig Roberts has confirmed that the injury should only keep him out of action for four to six weeks.
The talented 21-year-old sustained the injury during practice last Tuesday, on only the second day of the Sharks’ new year pre-season training schedule, according to Craig Lewis of IOL.
However, concerns that Cilliers might be out for an extended period of time were allayed by Roberts.
“Patric had a scan on Thursday and it was determined that he had torn some of the cartilage in his right knee, however, his re-constructed ligaments are still intact and that’s really good news. On Tuesday (tomorrow) he will go for a scope on his knee and will have some of the torn cartilage removed. So it seems he will be out for about four to six weeks, which is a lot better than the 6-9 months that it could have been in a worse case scenario.”
Cilliers has undergone two knee operations in the past year and a half but returned to the Sharks set-up during the second half of the 2008 Currie Cup, starting in two games as well as appearing twice off the bench.
Meanwhile, Roberts said veteran lock Albert van den Berg is expected to be sidelined for another four weeks after off-season shoulder surgery, while hooker Bismark du Plessis (hamstring and knee injury) and flank Jacques Botes (groin) were both “on schedule” to be fit before the commencement of the Super 14.
Roberts, who took up the post of Springbok team doctor after last year’s Super 14, explained that he would be back with the Sharks for this year’s Southern Hemisphere showpiece before returning to national duty after the tournament concluded.
Meanwhile, Sharks assistant coach Grant Bashford said he was extremely pleased with the work-rate of the squad during their first few days of training.
“So far so good,” he said. “The intensity in training has been really good and the guys have obviously stuck to their Christmas programme because they have all come back looking sharp.”
Bashford added the players had enjoyed working with acclaimed Australian Rugby League star, Andrew Johns, last week.
Bashford explained that as one of the world’s best League halfback’s, Johns’s input was invaluable.
“It’s been great having Andrew here, the guys have been enjoying working with him. In Rugby League he was the equivalent of a flyhalf so he has been imparting a lot of knowledge in terms of option-taking and playmaking.”
The Sharks will play two pre-season friendlies, against the Cheetahs and Bulls within the next four weeks, before getting their Super 14 underway with a Valentine’s Day fixture against the Stormers at Newlands.
This week the squad will be up in the Midlands for a training camp as they continue to hone their skills before the January 24 friendly fixture against the Cheetahs in Abu Dabhi.Tweet