South Africa's Pieter-Steph du Toit nearly lost his leg after rare complications from an injury he sustained last month playing for the Stormers, the Super Rugby side's medical doctor has said.
The reigning World Player of the Year was instrumental in helping the Springboks to their third Rugby World Cup title in Japan in November.
However, when facing the Blues in a Super Rugby match last month, Du Toit sustained an injury that almost led to the loss of his leg due to a very rare complication.
"It was a medical emergency," Stormers doctor Jason Suter told reporters. "He had a haematoma that developed into acute compartment syndrome. They're incredibly rare cases. Only 43 have been recorded in the literature.
"It's a medical emergency, because if you don't pick it up early and treat it, the patient will lose blood supply to their leg and could lose their leg.
"Within 15 minutes of him coming off the field and assessing him, we realised that he was at risk of this particular rare condition. He was taken straight to Vincent Pallotti [hospital, in Pinelands, Cape Town] where he had a vascular surgeon waiting, and he was operated on that night.
"It's very unusual, very rare, but they had to cut through the muscle to release the pressure and they were only able to close that leg 10 days after his initial injury."