Cape Town - Reds
coach Brad Thorn is playing down the severity of a back injury to
veteran back-rower George Smith, despite fears he could miss the entire
2018 Super Rugby season.
Smith has missed practice matches of his Japanese club, Suntory Sungoliath, while the Top League has been on a five-week break due to the back injury, with the star flank now seeking specialist opinions in Australia.
The severity of the injury is not known, nor is the exact injury itself, but Thorn was hopeful it would not spell the end of Smith's illustrious career.
"He's just getting it checked out at the moment," Thorn told the Australian Rugby Union's official website.
"He's getting a few opinions - which is the smart thing to do - and we will find out more about that.
"He's a real valued guy and hopefully there's a good result there."
Thorn played down talk of potential retirement, when pressed.
"He's trying to look at those opinions and he's keen to play footy," he said.
"I don't think he's thinking about that sort of thing at the moment.
"I think he was playing a game or training, felt something, played on and I guess when you're aware there is a niggle or something you get it checked and something needed to be done about it.
'It's just whether or not it's a long term thing that puts him out or if it's a shorter term thing."