All Black Sam Cane is in a race against time to make the All Blacks' World Cup squad, following a serious neck injury that could've left him paralyzed.
Cane faces another six weeks in a neck brace but is hopeful of a return to the field during Super Rugby following a neck fracture against the Springboks last month.
After a collision with Springboks loose forward Francois Louw in the 35th minute of the All Blacks comeback victory at Loftus Versfeld, Cane stayed down and then looked in obvious pain.
He needed surgery to repair a fracture on the lower right side of his neck and remained in South Africa for a week to recover, missing the end of year tour to Japan and Europe.
Cane has revealed to The Country radio show that it's been a slow recovery as he's been left home-bound since returning from South Africa.
"Recovery is tracking not too bad. It's going to be a slow one. A reasonably serious injury. I've got this neck brace on for three months and I hit the halfway point on Monday this week so another six weeks to go in it. Pretty immobile at the moment, parked up at home not able to drive," Cane said.
"I'm a stay at home dad without the kids, doing jobs around the house and a bit of Netflix. It's a bit boring."
The 26-year-old was hesitant to commit to a return date for the Chiefs in next year's Super Rugby campaign but offered a "rough date".
"All going well I'll probably get the last four to five games of Super Rugby in. We're a little bit skeptical to put a date on it at the moment because I've only seen a specialist once and it all just depends on how it heals.
"[It's] A lot to do with the bone fusing with the two vertebrae together. It could be longer so I just don't want to say it's a date and then keep pushing it out. We'll just see how it goes. I'm just happy that I'll be back playing."
The 2019 Super Rugby season runs from February to early July, with the All Blacks facing the Springboks in their first Pool B clash on September 21.
"When I look back and see the scans and realise how lucky I am. I'm just happy I'm going to make a recovery and I'll be back playing. There was never really a moment where I was really scared because at the same time that I found out I'd fractured my neck, everything was also alright. I could feel my toes, my hands so there was no stress there. I was already in their care so it wasn't going backwards from there."
Following the injury in October, Cane tweeted how thankful he was for the support from fans across the globe.
"A few things to be thankful for. Firstly, the circumference and strength of my neck, I may not be standing without it," Cane said.
"Secondly, the world class medical and surgical team I've had here in Pretoria, couldn't have asked for anything more."