Johannesburg (AFP) - A pelvic injury will sideline Springboks skipper Warren Whiteley for the rest of the Super Rugby season and possibly the first two rounds of the Rugby Championship, his provincial team said Tuesday.
Golden Lions doctor Rob Collins told reporters in Johannesburg that "we expect to rehabilitate Warren in six to eight weeks".
It was originally believed that the loose forward had a groin strain and would be out of action for not more than three weeks, but tests revealed a torn pelvic ligament.
Whiteley aggravated the injury training with the Springboks last week and missed the third Test against France, which South Africa won 35-12 to complete a 3-0 series whitewash.
Another Springbok loose forward, Jaco Kriel, will take over from Whiteley as captain of the Lions.
The Johannesburg team are second in the overall Super Rugby standings, seven points behind Canterbury Crusaders of New Zealand with a game in hand, as the league section draws to a close.
If Whiteley takes eight weeks to recover, he will miss home and away Tests against Argentina in the Rugby Championship, which includes Australia and New Zealand.
His obvious replacement in the national team, Toulon No. 8 Duane Vermeulen, is recovering from a shoulder injury that may require surgery.