KG get­ting the backup he needs

Proteas’ X-fac­tor will be ready in at least a fort­night, but Nortje’s jour­ney is over

Cape Argus - - SPORTS - STU­ART HESS @shock­er­hess

KAG­ISO Rabada cut a re­laxed fig­ure as he slid into his fancy Ja­panese sports car at the Wan­der­ers yes­ter­day af­ter­noon, but he is fac­ing a race against time to be fit for the open­ing match of the World Cup against Eng­land on May 30.

Rabada was re­turn­ing from the Wan­der­ers Med­i­cal Sports Cen­tre, sit­u­ated within the sta­dium, hav­ing com­pleted an­other ses­sion of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion for the “sig­nif­i­cant lower back” in­jury he picked up while play­ing in the IPL.

Part of Rabada’s re­hab in­cludes ses­sions in a hy­per­baric cham­ber, where he breathes in 90 per­cent oxy­gen (as op­posed to the usual 27 per­cent ev­ery­one does on a daily ba­sis) to accelerate the cre­ation of red blood cells.

“His treat­ment started vir­tu­ally when he got off the plane ... we are do­ing all these things to speed up re­cov­ery,” said the Proteas team’s phys­io­ther­a­pist Craig Goven­der yes­ter­day. Rabada’s re­cov­ery pe­riod has been placed at be­tween two and three weeks and although the na­tional side’s man­ager Mo­hammed Moosajee, said he was “hope­ful” Rabada would make a full re­cov­ery in time, the extreme mea­sures be­ing taken to aid his re­cov­ery il­lus­trate the level of con­cern there is about his fit­ness.

Said Moosajee: “We are be­ing ex­tra cau­tious with KG for a cou­ple of rea­sons; one he’s had a pre­vi­ous back is­sue that kept him out of the game for a pro­tracted pe­riod of time – and se­condly his im­por­tance to the squad. We are man­ag­ing his re­hab and re­turn to play care­fully, yes, we are con­fi­dent but at the same time we want to give him enough time to re­cover.”

Rabada prob­a­bly won’t play a big part in the prac­tice ses­sions when the Proteas squad gath­ers for a train­ing camp start­ing on Sun­day.

There was bet­ter news for his good mate Lungi Ngidi, who at the time Rabada sped off from the Wan­der­ers was still sweat­ing away in the nets, hav­ing com­pleted his re­cov­ery from a side strain. JP Du­miny (right shoul­der) and Tabraiz Shamsi (lower back) were also de­clared fully re­cov­ered from their ail­ments.

Dale Steyn will con­tinue to be closely mon­i­tored, but the ini­tial prog­no­sis af­ter his right shoul­der flared up at the IPL, is good.

“He’s re­sponded well to treat­ment and is show­ing signs of im­prove­ment,” said Moosajee. “Noth­ing of sig­nif­i­cance came up in the scans com­pared to those done post his pre­vi­ous surgery.”

Fol­low­ing that surgery, Steyn was out of the game for over a year, but the cur­rent prob­lem doesn’t seem as se­ri­ous and he is fol­low­ing a “very spe­cific and pro­gres­sive ‘re­turn to play’ pro­gramme,” ac­cord­ing to Moosajee.

Sadly, An­rich Nortje’s World Cup dreams were dashed by a freak in­ci­dent at train­ing in Port El­iz­a­beth on Mon­day when he frac­tured his right thumb in the nets. Nortje will be out of ac­tion for eight weeks, with his place in the squad taken by Chris Mor­ris. He will join up with the squad, along with Faf du Plessis and Quin­ton de Kock once their re­spec­tive spells in the IPL end.

The fi­nal of that com­pe­ti­tion is on Sun­day.

The first half of the Proteas train­ing camp will in­volve mostly team build­ing ses­sions be­fore they tackle spe­cific on-field train­ing at CSA’s High Per­for­mance Cen­tre in Tsh­wane from next Wed­nes­day.

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