Former Springbok captain and current Lions lineout coach Warren Whiteley hasn’t given up on playing again just yet, but he realises time is slowly running out on his career.
Whiteley has been part of the Lions coaching team this season, utilising the time off from a knee injury to upskill himself for a possible future role as a fulltime coach, but did admit he was frustrated that his injury hadn’t responded over the past few months.
Whiteley has been suffering from a bone bruise which struggles to heal, so much so that every time he has attempted a comeback things have just relapsed and the pain settles back in.
Earlier this year Whiteley said he would wait until after Super Rugby before making a decision on his career, especially as medical advice had ruled him out for the season. But there was some hope that if it responds he may be able to put off the inevitable, and play again.
Now it seems Whiteley will consult a fourth specialist when lockdown is lifted, this time in Cape Town, before deciding the path forward.
“Not much has changed and I was hoping there would have been an improvement, to be honest. I am definitely going to get another opinion - in Cape Town - that will be the last opinion, and the fourth, that I will get,” Whiteley told supersport.com
“I think after that I will be done. It does look like I will have to make a big decision come the end of the year whether we will operate or not. And if I have to operate, that is a decision I will have to make.
“But I will get another opinion as soon as the lockdown is over.
“Obviously my biggest focus has been on the coaching and trying to improve myself, and by doing that improving the boys, getting better and making the best contribution towards the team.”
Whiteley has been in lockdown now for six weeks after returning from New Zealand when the Covid-19 outbreak started, and has been contributing to the team environment in a series of online video calls, analysing the season while planning for a return to action.
But for now it seems he will continue coaching, unless the fourth opinion brings a telling difference to the rest.