Cape Town - AB de Villiers handed the Proteas a double blow on Monday, when he not only stepped down as Test skipper, but he was also ruled out of the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka.
After facing his first net practice in nearly five months last week for the Titans, De Villiers opted to pull out of the T20 Challenge and now also the three-Tests, the first of which starts on Boxing Day.
The 32-year-old will miss the three-match T20 series against the islanders, which begin after the Test series.
However, the Proteas star batsman is set be back in the Proteas line-up for a five-match ODI series against Sri Lanka starting at the end of January.
De Villiers has been absent since the New Zealand Test series in August, when he required surgery on his elbow after the injury flared up during his stint for the Barbados Tridents at the Caribbean Premier League in July.
He has subsequently missed the Proteas' triumphant (5-0) ODI series at home against Australia and then the historic Test series victory (2-1) Down Under.
Proteas team manager, Dr Mohammed Moosajee, explained on Monday: "AB's left elbow is much improved but is still regaining the last few degrees of straightening. Fitness to play requires a full range of elbow movement and this may take another 3-4 weeks to achieve.
"He will be unavailable for the Test series against Sri Lanka and will target a return for the ODI series..."
The first of five ODIs between South Africa and Sri Lanka will take place on Saturday, January 28 in Port Elizabeth.