Dale Steyn underwent a successful shoulder surgery on Thursday in Cape Town to repair the fracture he suffered during the first Test against Australia in Perth, Cricket South Africa said in a release. The fast bowler will have to undergo a six-month rehabilitation before gradually returning to bowling.
Steyn suffered the injury on the second day in Perth and told Channel Nine that he felt a thud in his shoulder and a lot of pain while bowling. He had bowled only 12.4 overs in the match, and had dismissed David Warner before walking off the field.
"I felt this pop or like a thud in my shoulder. There was a lot of pain," Steyn said. "I had to go off the field and have an MRI. I did something very similar against England in December in a similar area but it wasn't as bad. That was a stress reaction, which is like a very hairline little crack. This time it's more like a fracture. It's kind of broken the whole bone."
Dr Mohammed Moosajee, South Africa's team manager, said Steyn would begin his rehabilitation programme after a few weeks, once the bone had healed.
"Dale had successful surgery on Thursday where the fracture in the right shoulder blade was fixated with the placement of a screw," Moosajee was quoted as saying in a press release. "We expect a minimum six-month rehabilitation period before he can start any form of bowling. It is crucial to give the injury enough time to heal and to make sure that he is completely pain-free before he starts bowling again. He will begin with his rehabilitation programme once the satisfactory bony healing has taken place; this is expected to be in a few weeks.
"We are positive that he will make a successful return to international cricket. He will be provided with the best possible support and guidance led by our physiotherapist, Brandon Jackson, and Cricket South Africa's medical committee, which will give him the best opportunity to make a successful return to full fitness."
Steyn had suffered a similar injury late last year, and broke down during the Boxing Day Test against England. He was subsequently ruled out of the remaining matches of that series.
Steyn made a comeback from that injury at the World T20 in March, featuring in two of South Africa's four matches. He was then left out of the Caribbean triangular series in June - officially rested but unofficially dropped - and was allowed to play in the NatWest T20 Blast to regain form. He returned for South Africa's Tests against New Zealand and seemed back to his best with eight wickets in the Centurion win. He also played in four of the five ODIs against Australia and was occasionally seen holding the shoulder but did not need treatment at any stage.