27 February 2018

South Africa: Moses - Wayde's Injury a 'Knucklehead' Moment

Olympic legend and two-time gold medallist Edwin Moses has labelled Wayde van Niekerk a "knucklehead" after the South African sprinter injured his knee playing touch rugby towards the end of last year.

The injury, which took place at Newlands in a charity event before the Springboks hosted the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship on October 7, saw Van Niekerk tear both his meniscus and his anterior cruciate ligament.

As a result, he has been ruled out of this year's Commonwealth Games on Australia's Gold Coast where he was expected to compete in the 100m and 200m events.

Van Niekerk became South Africa's darling on August 14, 2016 when he smashed Michael Johnson's world record in the 400m to win gold at the Rio Olympics.

It was one of South Africa's greatest ever sporting moments, and since then Van Niekerk has been tipped to take over from the now-retired Usain Bolt as the poster boy of international sprinting.

Instead, Van Niekerk has spent the last few months following his surgery in the USA meeting with specialists in an attempt to rehabilitate as quickly as possible.

"That's why I never played tennis ... I flew aeroplanes and scuba-dived and I'd risk my life, but not my limbs," Moses told Sport24 in Monaco ahead of the 2018 Laureus World Sports Awards .

"It's a knucklehead move that young guys make. He's not the first one and won't be the last. There is a list of them that I know of in the United States. I never played any other sports, because I was afraid."

While Van Niekerk is reportedly optimistic about his return, Moses has warned that it will be a very long time before he reaches his best again, if he in fact does.

"Any time you disrupt a knee joint then you have to rehabilitate the calves, the hamstrings and the quads and really co-ordinate everything," he said.

"He can come back from it ... but when you're in such a precise event and everything working properly is the key, like in the 400m, when you get tired those little changes after an injury like that could make a difference.

"He'll have to work very hard to get back. It's at least a two-year project. I wouldn't expect him to do anything this year."

Lloyd Burnard is in Monaco as a guest of Laureus ...

Sport24

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