I would rather wait a little longer
Springbok utility back Francois Hougaard will not rush back and risk aggravating an ankle injury.
The 25-year-old, who is determined to focus on scrumhalf this year and shed the 'utility' tag, has struggled to recover since being sent home from the Bulls' Australasian tour with an ankle injury.
It has been described as an "overuse injury" that causes bone bruising and that is why the talented Bok is determined not to return to soon.
Describing his immediate goal as 'just to get back on the field', Hougaard revealed that he first encountered discomfort with the problem in Week Two of the season.
"The first game, against the Stormers, I was okay," Hougaard said, adding: "Then the second game I was average to bad.
"I couldn't run properly, because I had bone bruising on my ankle."
Although there was a suggestion that he could feature against the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, Hougaard said there is no rush to return.
"For me it is important to recover fully and not push myself too fast," the Bok said.
"I would rather wait a little longer, rather than risk it becoming a chronic injury and then I am sidelined for several months.
"My main focus now is working hard on rehab and getting back on the field."
Admitting that it is frustrating to watch from the sidelines, Hougaard said it could have been worse.
"Bizzy [Bok hooker Bismarck du Plessis] has been sidelined for eight months [with knee surgery] and now Jaco Taute [fellow Bok utility] is out for 10 to 12 months [with a knee injury]," the scrumhalf said.
"I am excited about the fact that I will be playing in a week or two. I will just keep my focus on the next week and when I will be ready."
By Jan de Koning