Surgery a possibility
World Cup-winning Springbok Danie Rossouw may be forced to retire as a result of the onset of arthritis.
Pascale Lambrechts, the team doctor for Rossouw's French club Toulon, revealed that the 35-year-old utility forward suffers from osteoarthritis of the hip, which will sideline him for several months.
"The osteoarthritis of the hip is fluctuating, meaning that the inflammation flares up [at times]," Lambrechts said.
The doctor added that they have been treating the problem, but it has not responded as they had hoped.
They will have to consider "surgery" if there is no improvement within three to four weeks.
It may mean that Rossouw has already played his last game.
Rossouw, born in Sabie, mostly plays in the second row, but often also featured in the back row for the Bulls and South Africa.
Rossouw made his first international appearance in the Springboks' opening pool game against Uruguay at the 2003 World Cup in Australia.
He went on to make another 62 Test appearances and was a key member of the 2007 World Cup-winning squad - including making a try-saving tackle on Mark Cueto in the Final against England.
Rossouw has won three Currie Cup titles, three Super Rugby titles, a Japanese title and a Cup triumph, a European Cup, a Tri-Nations title, a World Cup and a series victory over the British and Irish Lions - making him one of the most decorated players.
* Osteoarthritis (OA) also known as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis, is a group of mechanical abnormalities involving degradation of joints, including articular cartilage and subchondral bone. Symptoms may include joint pain, tenderness, stiffness, locking, and sometimes an effusion. A variety of causes - hereditary, developmental, metabolic, and mechanical deficits - may initiate processes leading to loss of cartilage. When bone surfaces become less well protected by cartilage, bone may be exposed and damaged. As a result of decreased movement secondary to pain, regional muscles may atrophy, and ligaments may become more lax.
Treatment generally involves a combination of exercise, lifestyle modification, and analgesics. If pain becomes debilitating, joint replacement surgery may be used to improve the quality of life. OA is the most common form of arthritis, and the leading cause of chronic disability in the United States. It affects about 8 million people in the United Kingdom and nearly 27 million people in the United States.