Springbok World Rugby player of the year Pieter-Steph du Toit was lucky to avoid a leg amputation following a freak injury against the Blues earlier this month, it has been revealed.

Du Toit faces three months on the sideline with a leg injury sustained in the 33-14 defeat at Newlands and the Stormers doctor has revealed it could have got very serious.

"He had a medical emergency after the Blues game. He had a haematoma that developed into an acute compartment syndrome. It's incredibly rare - there have been only 43 (cases) listed in the literature (worldwide)," Stormers team doctor Jason Suter told South African news site Sport 24.

"It's a medical emergency because if you don't pick it up early they lose blood supply to the leg and they lose the leg.


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"Within 15 minutes of him coming off the field and assessing him, we realised that he was at risk of this particular rare condition. He was taken straight to Vincent Pallotti (Hospital) where he had a vascular surgeon waiting and he was operated on that night.

"It's very unusual, very rare but they had to cut through the muscle to release the pressure and they were only able to close that leg 10 days after his initial injury."

Tonight on The Breakdown, Mark Robinson joins the team to discuss potential options for NZR after COVID – 19 halts major sporting events. The Minister of Sport Hon. Grant Robertson discusses the overall impact on NZ Sport. Plus the team look at the last weekend of Super Rugby after the tournament gets suspended, and what a weekend it was. Video / Sky Sport

The team doctor said the Springboks' flanker was recovering and faces a lengthy break from the field. Super Rugby has currently been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Stormers coach John Dobson praised the team doctor's actions.

"Doc deserves enormous credit for Pieter-Steph, had a rugby player lost his leg it would have been devastating for the game. And if it wasn't for the timely intervention then I think (he could have lost his leg)... almost half of the 43 reported cases had resulted in that," Dobson said.