The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games have suffered a big blow with track superstar Wayde van Niekerk ruled out by a serious knee injury.
The 400m Olympic and world champion and world record holder, Van Niekerk was expected to one of the biggest international drawcards at the Gold Coast Games in April.
The South African tore his anterior cruciate ligament and suffered medial and lateral tears of the meniscus while playing in a celebrity touch rugby event in Cape Town last month and has now travelled to Vail in the United States for surgery.
He's expected to face six months of rehabilitation, his management company confirmed.
After the retirement of Jamaican sprint great Usain Bolt, 25-year-old Van Niekerk is keen to compete in the 100m and 200m as well as the 400m, but will now have to put those plans on hold.
"I was looking forward to competing in the 100-metre and 200-metre events in Gold Coast, and participating at the (South African) national championships in March, so this is unfortunate timing," Van Niekerk said.
"But this is sport and these things happen. I trust that the team I have around me, including the medical professionals, will make this process as smooth as possible.
"I have faith that, God willing, I'll be able to race again later next year. Full recovery is going to be crucial, so I'll be patient, but I will work as hard as I can to get back on the track as soon as possible."