Doctors say it might take up to two years for Durban triathlete Mhlengi Gwala to be able to take part in competitive sport again.
This comes after attackers tried to sever both his legs with a chain saw on the eve of a qualifying event for the world championships.
Specialists say after rehabilitation, they will see if Gwala can continue with his sporting career.
Plastic surgeon O’Sharran Singh has explained that the attackers cut through 80% of the bone on one leg.
Vessels, muscles and nerves had to be reconnected in microscopic surgery, while a pin and bolt was put into the bone.
Gwala says he’s encouraged by all the support he’s receiving.
“I’m feeling better. There is not much pain now. I am only worried but the doctor said my nerves would take long to heal. That is my worry for now. But everything is going smooth. Obviously I am a bit down. Sometimes when I see it on Facebook, I see so much support for me from people all over the world. I get my strength from that.”