Bok prop Julian Redelinghuys is optimistic about a return to rugby despite doctors advising him against playing again.
The 27-year-old suffered a fractured neck disc following a tackle from Torsten van Jaarsveld during last year's Currie Cup semi-final between the Lions and the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
Redelinhuys is currently in rehabilitation after undergoing immediate surgery at the time.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann last week confirmed that Redelinghuys has been ruled out of the 2017 Super Rugby tournament, but it has since been revealed that his playing future hangs in the balance because the left side of his body is still a lot weaker than his right side.
'I haven't yet been to a doctor who thinks it's a good idea for me to play again, but I still have hope. What they are saying makes sense. This was after all my second neck operation,' Redelinghuys told Netwerk24.
'I have an appointment with the doctors who performed the surgery on me at the end of the month. They will be able to give me a good indication of when, and if, I will be able to play again,' he added.
'The rehabilitation is going really well,' he said. 'My shoulder muscles improved towards the end of December and I now have more movement in my left arm, because during the first two and a half months after the surgery I couldn't really do that.'
Photo: Wessel Oosthuizen/Gallo Images