Tim just needs time

Vodacom Blue Bulls tearaway flanker Tim Dlulane is feeling as “good as can be expected”.

Speaking to keo.co.za from his home in Pretoria, Dlulane said he was trying to make the most out of his current situation. Dlulane damaged his C4-C5 disc in the Absa Currie Cup match against the Lions last weekend.

He became the fourth professional player this year to suffer a serious neck injury. Following the highly publicised injury to Schalk Burger, the Pumas duo of fullback Casper Steyn and prop Jacques Muller were forced to retire with immediate effect. It is still hoped that Burger will make a comeback.

For Dlulane though it seems he will be able to get back onto the field next year. “Immediately after the operation the pins and needles sensation I had felt was gone and that was a really good sign the doctors said.”

He underwent surgery last week and was released two days after the operation. He is basically confined to his home and has to wear a neck brace at all times. “I’m not sure how much longer I will have to do that, but I have quite good mobility in the neck. I guess it’s on as a precaution really.”

At this stage he is expected to make his comeback sometime in the Vodacom Super 14. “Initially I was told it would take six months before I could start training, but we will see,” Dlulane told keo.co.za. “The doctors were very pleased with how the operation turned out and I am under constant observation at the moment.”

Dlulane will see his specialist for update X-rays this afternoon, but according to the player himself he is feeling fine. “I am able to walk around without too much discomfort. Obviously I’m not going around lifting anything at this stage. During the day I feel fine. It’s only when I sleep that I feel discomfort. I’m as good as can be expected, I guess.”

Dlulane was pragmatic when assessing his situation. “You are never prepared for something like this,” he said, “but it is part of what we do. You can’t control everything and it is a contact sport we play after all. I’m just pleased that things have looked positive after the operation and the doctors are all pleased with my progress.”

With an injury of this nature, Dlulane understands that it is better to err on the side of caution. “I would rather stay out too long, because if I come back too soon and get injured again it could be the end of my career. And I’m really enjoying my rugby at the moment and I can’t wait to get back on the field.”

By Andrew Hollely