Kings forward CJ Velleman suffers freak accident

COMEBACK ON HOLD: CJ VELLEMAN, whose hopes of turning out for the Kings against Edinburgh on January 4 have been dashed by a training-ground injury
COMEBACK ON HOLD: CJ VELLEMAN, whose hopes of turning out for the Kings against Edinburgh on January 4 have been dashed by a training-ground injury
Image: GALLO IMAGES

A freak accident at training has delayed the long-awaited comeback from injury of Isuzu Southern Kings loose forward CJ Velleman.

It had been expected that Velleman might be ready to make his comeback in the Guinness PRO14 against Edinburgh in Scotland on January 4.

However, his comeback has again been put on hold.

A succession of cruel injuries meant the star fetcher did not play a single match for the Kings in Super Rugby in 2017, after starring in 2016.

In 2016, the man dubbed a “pocket battleship”, enjoyed statistics that matched the top loose forwards in world rugby.

After making good progress in his recovery from a long-term knee injury sustained in 2016, Velleman suffered a setback when he damaged the same knee at training in 2017.

The highly rated 24-year-old open side flanker had just returned to full training at the Port Elizabeth-based side from a leg injury when a “freak accident” at training on Friday last week put an end to a potential comeback.

“CJ was involved in a freak accident at training when he slipped and tore his ACL on his left knee,” Kings head of athletic performance Wayne Taylor said on Tuesday.

“He and all of us in the team are disappointed. CJ has been working so hard on his recovery and was on the verge of making a comeback as he had already begun full training with the rest of the squad.”

Velleman will undergo surgery this week and will spend the coming weeks on his rehabilitation.

“CJ is a very strong-willed individual and he still remains very positive,” Taylor said.

“He is such a hard worker, who has worked hard on his recovery from his previous injuries and already has a positive mindset to bounce back from this one.

“I have no doubt he will continue to work hard during his rehabilitation process to ensure he comes back stronger. We wish him well on his road to recovery.”

The Kings play against Irish team Connacht in Galway on Saturday in round seven of the PRO14.

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