Proteas inject urgency into Smith cure

Published: Tuesday, January 6, 2009, 14:27 [IST]
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Smith injects pace into recovery

Sydney: Smith has flown to Melbourne to receive treatment on his broken left hand and undergo an autologous blood injection on his right elbow.

The Proteas are desperate for Smith to regain full fitness in time for Australia''s forthcoming Test tour and have attempted to expedite the healing process by having him treated immediately.

Barely 18 hours after Mitchell Johnson struck him a series-ending blow to the hand, Smith was on a plane to Melbourne for an appointment with local surgeon Greg Hoy to have the fracture attended to.

Smith also paid a visit to another Melbourne specialist, Frank Burke, who performed the first round of blood injections to the torn tendon in the batsman''s right elbow.

The injury has hampered Smith''s preparations throughout the series and is the ailment most likely to threaten his participation in the three-Test series in South Africa.

"We have been performing these injections for about 10 years, and they have been of great help to many people. But like anything in life, there is no guarantee," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Burke, as saying.

"It isn''t usually until a second injection that you have a better idea as to how well it is working," he added.

The 15-minute procedure involved blood being taken from Smith''s arm and then, with the assistance of an ultrasound for positioning purposes, injected directly into the torn tendon.

Smith will be required to undergo a second injection in the coming weeks in South Africa, providing a suitable doctor can be found. The procedure has never before been carried out in South Africa.

If the autologous injection is unsuccessful, Smith is likely to undergo surgery that will rule him out of cricket for three months. He was expected to rejoin the South African squad in Sydney overnight.


Read more about: melbourne, graeme smith, injury, treatment
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