Sydney - Sonny Bill Williams is optimistic after undergoing surgery on a
chest injury that has cast doubt on his immediate future in Japanese
rugby, a return to the National Rugby League and the continuation of his
professional boxing career.
According to stuff.co.nz website, "Just spoke to the doctors operation went well, Thanks for the
support I've been truly blessed" Williams told his Twitter followers as
he recovered from a procedure to mend a torn pectoral muscle.
The double international and reigning New Zealand heavyweight boxing
champion gave no indication on when he would be able to return to
action for the Panasonic Wild Knights but before going under the knife
in Sydney on Wednesday he was hopeful of completing his rugby union commitments
in Japan and fighting South African Francois Botha before joining the
After arriving in Sydney on Tuesday morning, Williams headed straight
to Roosters headquarters at Moore Park to undergo an MRI scan for the
pectoral muscle injury he sustained playing for the Wild Knights last
weekend and was shattered when he received the results.
However, he refuses to accept the bout is off against Botha - a
former world heavyweight champion, who has fought Mike Tyson, Evander
Holyfield and Lennox Lewis - and he may have played his last game of
The 27-year-old hopes to return to Japan to help the Wild Knights in
the Top League competition and postpone his fight with Botha until
That would leave him on schedule to meet the timeline that had
already been agreed on for him to join the Roosters before the start of
Such a scenario would also be welcomed by Channel Nine, who have
proposed to kick-off the 2013 NRL season with the Roosters hosting South
Sydney at Allianz Stadium in March.
If he is out, Nine may want to open the season with another match as
the Roosters finished 13th last season and it is Williams' return to
the game five years after walking out on the Bulldogs that is the big
There were conflicting estimates of how long Williams would be
sidelined, with Roosters doctor John Orchard telling club officials he
would require three to five months recovery - ruling him out of action
until the start of the NRL season and possibly until round three.
Doctors in Japan, who had assessed him after the injury last
Saturday, had given him the green light to fight Botha in Brisbane on
November 24 before returning to play for the Wild Knights.
But after undergoing a second MRI on Tuesday, Williams consulted his
private doctor Shamile Hussain and orthopaedic surgeon John Gallagher,
who advised him the recovery time would be 10 to 12 weeks.
He decided to have surgery immediately in a bid to return to the playing field for the Wild Knights as quickly as possible.
Having returned to Sydney to prepare for the fight against Botha,
Williams did not want to discuss his impending return to the NRL when he
arrived from Tokyo on Tuesday morning.
After getting the results of the scan, Williams spoke briefly to
Roosters chairman Nick Politis but he is yet to sign a contract to play
in the NRL next season. Asked about comments from ARL Commission
chairman John Grant and interim chief executive Shane Mattiske that they
would want to talk to the Roosters before agreeing to register his
contract, Williams told the Herald: ''I will cross that bridge when I come to it.
'' I am still a rugby player and I am still signed with the Panasonic Wild Knights, so I have got to respect them.''
Initially, it had been reported Williams had suffered a more serious
injury playing for the Wild Knights last weekend and he was in severe
pain before being taken from the field.
An MRI scan in Japan found only a minor tear, but Williams admitted
the bout with Botha was in doubt when he arrived on Tuesday. ''That is
the reason I came back here straight away,'' he said.
''I have got four weeks off now and I am supposed to be preparing
for a big fight with Botha, but I just need to find out what is going on
with this injury.
''If I can't fight, then hopefully I will be right when I am due to
go back to Japan. We will just wait and see what happens.''