Vermeulen 'does not need surgery'
Cape Town - The Stormers' team medic, Dr Jason Suter, says Stormers' No 8 and captain Duane Vermeulen does not need surgical intervention after he was withdrawn from the past weekend's Super rugby clash against the Lions with a severe neck spasm.
Vermeulen consulted a neurosurgeon earlier on Monday with an intense neck spasm. An MRI showed a bulging disc at C5 level.
The neurosurgeon's prognosis was seen as a positive sign ahead of the upcoming Super Rugby play-offs, with the Stormers set to host either a quarter-or semi-final match in the coming weeks.
Dr Suter said that Vermeulen was continuing to improve and he still showed no signs of specific nerve root irritation.
"After reviewing the MRI with his radiology colleagues, the neurosurgeon is confident that the disc bulge is old and has not changed from previous scans. It is not the cause of the severe spasm. The surgeon has recommended no surgical management and Duane will undergo extensive physiotherapy over the next 10 days.
"The neurosurgeon has also indicated that there is no risk of exacerbating the injury and feels that Duane will be able to play in the Super Rugby play-offs.
"The Stormers' medical team will continue to manage him and he will obtain a second neurosurgical opinion tomorrow (on Tuesday) to ensure he is given all possible input to his injury and its management."
Coach Allister Coetzee obviously wants his leader available as soon as possible, but he does not view the prospect of going through the rest of the campaign without Vermeulen as detrimental to the Stormers’ title challenge.
“We have grown as a group. We have overcome that mentality by trusting the squad and backing our squad system,” said Coetzee.
“A guy like Nizaam Carr has done really well. This Stormers team is bigger than that at this point in time. We’ve got a good group of players and we back each and every player stepping up.”
Kick-off on Saturday is at 19:10.