Cape Argus

KG getting the backup he needs

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

- 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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