We will see at Friday's captain's run
Springbok flyhalf Johan Goosen could make an unexpected and dramatic return to the playing field on Saturday.
Free State Cheetahs backline coach Hawies Fourie confirmed to this website that Goosen could be back in action against the Blue Bulls in a Currie Cup encounter in Bloemfontein, despite not being listed on the official team sheet - released on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old pivot has been out of action since injuring his knee during a freak training ground accident on the Cheetahs' Australasian tour and was set to return to action earlier in the season.
Then, a fortnight ago, he underwent an emergency procedure for a ruptured appendix.
However, his recovery from that has been as swift as it has been dramatic and he will feature off the Cheetahs bench if he passes a fitness later this week.
"We are going to give him time till Friday," Fourie told this website.
"He has had two training sessions with the team this week and we will make the call at Friday's captain's run."
The Cheetahs mentor confirmed that Goosen was in line to make his comeback, from knee surgery, against Griquas last week, but the surgery to remove his ruptured appendix two weeks ago delayed his return.
"If we want to use him in the play-offs, we have to give him at least one game before the semifinals," Fourie said, when asked about the decision to rush Goosen back.
"As far as his knee [injury] is concerned, he is 100 percent [recovered]," he said.
"However, we have to take all the factors into consideration before making the call."
Goosen trained with the team on Tuesday and was a bit stiff on Wednesday. He trained again on Wednesday and Thursday will do some fitness tests.
"We will see at Friday's captain's run how he has progressed," Fourie said, adding: "He will take the place of Piet Lindeque on the bench if he is cleared to play."
Goosen, a member of the South Africa Under-20 team that competed in the 2011 IRB Junior World Championship, has been troubled by a succession of injuries in the past two years.
He suffered a serious shoulder injury in a Super Rugby match against the Highlanders in April.
He recovered and made his Springbok debut on 8 September Australia in a 19-26 defeat in Perth. He came off the bench as replacement flyhalf for Morné Steyn in the 59th minute of the game.
The following two weekends he was in the starting line-up for the Springboks as flyhalf, where he performed well. However, in the Test against the All Blacks in Soweto he came off the field with a heel injury.
Goosen again recovered to play for the Cheetahs in the Super Rugby competition this year, till suffered that freakish knee injury on 18 March during a Cheetah training session in Sydney.
It was expected that would miss the all of the Springboks' Test matches this year, but if he makes his comeback this week he could force his way back into the selection frame for the year-end tour to Wales, Scotland and France.
By Jan de Koning