Dale Steyn underwent a successful surgery in Cape Town on Thursday to repair the shoulder blade fracture he suffered while on tour in Australia, Cricket South Africa announced on Sunday (November 13).
Steyn, 33, sustained the injury on his right shoulder in the first Test match against Australia at the WACA ground in Perth last week, and returned home straightaway, and was expected to be out for action for around six months.
“Dale had successful surgery on Thursday where the fracture in the right shoulder blade was fixated with the placement of a screw,” said Dr Mohammed Moosajee, the South Africa team manager. “We expect a minimum six-month rehabilitation period before he can start any form of bowling. It is crucial to give the injury enough time to heal and to make sure that he is completely pain-free before he starts bowling again. He will begin with his rehabilitation programme once the satisfactory bony healing has taken place; this is excepted to be in a few weeks.”
Steyn had bowled well without much reward until he got David Warner caught in the slips for 97 in his 12th over of the first Australia innings in Perth, but he had to leave the field in his very next over – the 38th of the innings – clutching his shoulder in pain. South Africa won the Test by 177 runs with Kagiso Rabada stepping up to lead the attack in Steyn’s absence.
This is the second time in the past year that Steyn has done his shoulder. He missed a large part of South Africa’s home series against England in December 2015-January 2016. Earlier, during the tour of India in September-December 2015 too, Steyn played only the first Test in Mohali, missing the rest through injury.
Dwaine Pretorius, the 27-year-old allrounder, was called up as Steyn’s replacement for the second and third Tests in Australia.
“We are positive that he will make a successful return to international cricket,” added Moosajee. “He will be provided with the best possible support and guidance led by our physiotherapist, Brandon Jackson, and Cricket South Africa’s medical committee, which will give him the best opportunity to make a successful return to full fitness.”
Steyn has 417 wickets from 85 Tests, just five shy of overtaking Shaun Pollock’s tally of 421 scalps to become South Africa’s highest-ever wicket-taker.