Australia centre Samu Kerevi gave supporters, coaches and team-mates a timely boost following their Bledisloe Cup disappointment by confirming that he should recover in plenty of time for the Rugby World Cup.
Kerevi missed their clash against the All Blacks in Melbourne after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament during the Commonwealth Games, an injury which ruled him out until next season.
It means the 28-year-old will have missed the entirety of the Rugby Championship campaign, as well as being absent for the upcoming end-of-year northern hemisphere series.
“The best case would be (a return in) April or May,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald. “That would be when I’m ready to be back. The latest would be May.
“Hopefully I get a couple of (Japanese League One) games in before finals. There’s bigger fish to fry next year.”
The initial idea for Kerevi was to play in the Commonwealth Games and then return for the final four matches in the Rugby Championship, but those plans were ruined by his ACL injury.
“I thought I had cracked a bone, (but) I got up, walked off and felt fine,” he said. “Then the doc was having a look. He said something about there being no end point for my ACL. I started getting head noise.
“An hour later, I accepted what was going on, whatever the outcome was. After the scans came back, it showed I ruptured it. I understand it’s part of footy. I have no regrets.
“I was not sure how they (his club Tokyo Sungoliath) were going to react at the time, but after speaking to them, they have been really supportive.
“They understand it’s part of footy. No one wants to get injured, and it’s part of the game. They’ve been supportive, and I’ll be heading back in December to finish my rehab there.”
Advice from a Wallaby legend
Kerevi has spoken to one of the great Australian centres, Tim Horan, about how he managed his recovery from a similar injury in 1994.
Interestingly, despite being 28 years apart, both had the same surgeon.
“The same doctor that operated on him, operated on me. Hopefully I get some good luck from that,” Kerevi added.
“Shout out to Peter Myers, he’s a great surgeon and has been telling me a lot of great stories about boys that have come back from an ACL. I have a lot of confidence I’ll come back fine.”