South African captain Graeme Smith plans to hold off surgery for a chronic tennis elbow injury until after next month's home Test series with Australia, he said on Thursday.
Smith told a news conference on his return to South Africa from Australia, where his side beat Australia in an away Test series for the first time, that he would see a surgeon on Saturday to discuss the best course of action.
"It is really a matter of resting it and then finding a window of eight to 12 weeks so that I can have surgery. In the meantime we will just be treating it and keeping it manageable," he said.
Smith was first diagnosed with the injury while playing in the Indian Premier League in April last year and it cut short his tour of England in August 2008.
In order to try to alleviate the discomfort, Smith has begun a course of treatment where his own blood is injected directly into the tear in his elbow.
He will continue with the treatment in order to play in the return series against Australia which begins in February.
Smith expects the visitors to present a formidable challenge when they arrive in South Africa.
"Australia are hurting and they are going to come back hard at us. We know that with Australia you have to earn every inch and I think they have a lot of respect for us now.
"I am really looking forward to being involved in the Test series back home."