Melbourne [Australia], Nov.13 : In what may come as a major blow to South Africa, pace spearhead Dale Steyn is all set to be sidelined for at least six months post shoulder surgery last week.
The 33-year-old got his right shoulder fractured during Australia's first innings of the opening Test, which the Proteas went on to win by massive 177 runs at the WACA Ground in Perth to take 1-0 lead in the ongoing three-match series.
It was in the 38th minute of the match when Steyn went down wincing in pain while holding his shoulder after bowling to Usman Khawaja, prompting the physio to immediately arrive on the scene.
He eventually returned home to Cape Town and underwent surgery to his injury. Reflecting on Steyn's surgery, South Africa's team manager and chief medical officer Dr Mohammed Moosajee had said that although they are unsure for how long the champion bowler would be sidelined, it seems that he would not be able to begin bowling until at least next May.
"Dale had successful surgery on Thursday where the fracture in the right shoulder blade was fixated with the placement of a screw.
We expect a minimum six-month rehabilitation period before he can start any form of bowling," Moosajee was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
In spite of that, Moosajee insisted the Proteas are hopeful that Steyn would make a full recovery from the injury soon and return to international cricket.
"He will begin with his rehabilitation programme once the satisfactory bony healing has taken place; this is expected to be in a few weeks.
We are positive that he will make a successful return to international cricket," he said. Injury-prone Steyn, who has taken 417 wickets in 85 Tests, had earlier got his shoulder injured while surfing last December and eventually missed the opportunity to represent his country in most matches against England.
Steyn, who notched up a total of 417 wickets at an average of 22.30 since making his Test debut in 2004, needs just five more wickets to overtake Shaun Pollock (421) as South Africa's most successful Test bowler.