Van Niekerk undergoes surgery on serious knee injury
The South African 400m Olympic champion suffered medial and lateral tears of the meniscus and a torn ACL in a celebrity touch rubgy match on Tuesday.
Sprinter Wayde Van Niekerk underwent a successful knee operation in Colorado on Tuesday night, his management team confirmed.
On Wednesday, the 25-year-old Olympic gold medalist began his road to recovery with his first rehabilitation session.
Six months of rehabilitation
Van Niekerk is expected to spend six months on the sidelines and will miss the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia in April.
Van Niekrek’s agent Peet van Zyl said that the sprinter will take his time before returning to action.
“There is no rush, he just needs to do the rehabilitation and he will stay in Colorado for a little over two weeks for the first phase of intense rehab before he flies again,” Van Zyl said.
The 400m world champion, who last weekend married his long-term girlfriend Chesney Campbell, will return to South Africa for a short time before traveling to Doha to visit specialist Dr Louis Holtzhausen.
“He will do the rest of his rehab in Doha with Doc Louis for a good four to six weeks before he goes on honeymoon,” added the South African’s agent.
Van Zyl mentioned that Van Niekerk’s knee scans have already been sent to the renowned doctor in Doha, who also counts Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt among his patients.
“We want to improve his chances of success; he phoned Dr LaPrade, who said come as soon as possible,” Van Zyl added.
Malherbe: “Van Niekerk should not have taken the risk”
In an interview with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, former South African 400m record holder Arnaud Malherbe wished Van Niekerk a speedy recovery but also stated his belief that the sprinter should not have taken the risk by playing in the charity event.
“While I fully understand and support his reasons for playing, it may have been a risk he shouldn’t have taken,” Malherbe said. “Truth is though, he was just extremely unlucky and could just as easily have made it through the match unscathed. However, all that is water under the bridge and I wish Wayde a full and speedy recovery.”
Van Niekerk was one of the stars of the 2016 Rio Olympics, where he smashed the 400m world record with a time of 43.04, beating the long-standing mark set by Michael Johnson in 1999.