Wednesday, September 2, 2009

SA play down Smith fitness fears

South Africa captain was ruled out of his side's two matches against the Highveld Lions later this week.

The Proteas are currently in Potchefstroom preparing for the Champions Trophy to be played in Johannesburg and Pretoria from September 22 to October 5, but will have to do without their skipper for the initial part of their training camp.

The left-handed opener went under the knife in June to repair chronic tennis elbow, which has constantly dogged him over the past 16 months.

However, he is expected to return to action against West Indies in a warm-up game at Senwes Park on September 17.

"Graeme's elbow is healing well post-surgery," team physiotherapist Brandon Jackson said. "He is in week 11 of a structured 13-week return to full activity programme.
"He is currently batting against tennis balls and against under-arm bowling with a cricket ball, together with intensive gym strengthening and boxing.

"This excludes him from matches this week. We expect him to return to full batting activity in 10 days' time."

Smith first suffered the injury during the Indian Premier League in April 2008, which then forced him to miss the last three one-day internationals during his side's tour to England in August.

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