Springbok captain Warren Whiteley has been withdrawn from the Lions touring squad after suffering another setback in his recovery from injury.
It is a cruel blow for Whiteley, who had just returned to training when he felt a twinge in his knee while running.
Whiteley was initially only supposed to have been out for six to eight weeks when he injured himself while training with the Boks during their three-match June Test series against France last year.
Almost a year later and due to a misdiagnosis and various complications, Whiteley had been earmarked to return for the crucial three-Test June series against England.
However, he is now a serious doubt which could leave Rassie Erasmus with a captaincy conundrum, seeing as Eben Etzebeth is already ruled out.
“Warren Whiteley has not been medically cleared by the Lions Rugby Company medical team and will not join the Lions on tour until he is medically cleared,” his team said in a brief statement on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Lions team doctor Rob Collins confirmed that Whiteley would undergo a scan.
"Warren returned to training and while he was running he felt a click in his knee," Collins told Sport24 on Wednesday.
"The knee swelled up a bit over night and he doesn't feel comfortable with it. We just want to take a precaution and send him for a scan. He'll see an orthopaedic surgeon."
The Lions face the Waratahs on Friday, before clashes against the Reds (April 28), Hurricanes (May 5) and Highlanders (May 12).