Johannesburg - Injured Lions captain Warren Whiteley is nearing a return to action, says coach Swys de Bruin.
The 30-year-old has been out of action for most of the Super Rugby season since injuring his knee back in March in a match against the Blues at Ellis Park.
He was due to make his return on the four-match Australasian tour, but suffered another setback with the same injury and he was withdrawn from the touring party at the last minute.
Then, on Thursday, Whiteley was absent from the Lions squad that will do battle against the Brumbies in Johannesburg this weekend.
Whiteley is considered a major contender for the Springbok captaincy in June's three-Test series against England, but with each passing week that he isn't playing that becomes less likely.
According to Lions coach Swys de Bruin, though, a return is not far away.
"Warren is a racehorse kind of guy. The doctors can say he’s okay, but he needs to know he is 100%," De Bruin explained to Johannesburg media on Thursday.