Johannesburg - Incumbent captain Jean de Villiers is ahead of schedule in his road to recovery ahead of the Rugby World Cup in England in September, according to Springbok management.
De Villiers dislocated his patella in the Springboks’ 12-6 loss to Wales in Cardiff at the end of November last year and had to undergo reconstructive knee surgery.
Although De Villiers did not participate in any field training in Johannesburg on Monday at the first of two Springbok training camps, he did attend the camp and was involved in the off-field sessions.
"I am not a medical practitioner but Jean is really training well, he is at the camp but he is doing rehab," Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said during the training camp.
"He is at the meetings but at this stage he is way ahead of where he is supposed to be and we are really happy with his progress at this stage.
“I am very happy with Jean, he is in a good space, he is really training well and the medical team has really done a great job."
Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts said he was satisfied with De Villiers’ progress and the next step would be to determine when the centre should make his return to the playing field.
"We are very happy with Jean’s progress, we are taking it week by week, he is doing really well at the moment," Roberts said.
"We need to start programming him to get a couple of games so that he can get some game time and confidence before the World Cup."
The Springboks will start their RWC preparations in earnest when they face a World XV in Cape Town after the conclusion of the Rugby Championship, which could be an ideal opportunity to unleash the Bok captain.
Roberts added that De Villiers has been at an advanced stage in his rehabilitation and was short of participating in team sessions.
"He is running really hard, he is doing a lot of field training, conditioning and he is not far from doing some team training.
"It is important that he gets some game time after an injury like that even with a 100 caps and the experience he has behind him," concluded Roberts.