James Mortimer - (3/04/2012)
World Cup winning All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has had the final stage of surgery on his troublesome right foot, although the simple and pre-planned procedure will not add to the 110-match Investec Super Rugby match veteran's stint on the sidelines.
McCaw had surgery on his right foot early in 2011, with a titanium screw inserted into the fifth metatarsel after a harmless training resulted in the flanker pulling up in pain, and it was later revealed he had a stress fracture.
This led to an injury interrupted season, although he put the pain of what became the most talked about foot at the Rugby World Cup behind him and lead the All Blacks to victory.
It was only after the tournament that the degree of the injury was made apparent, with former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry remarking on a boat trip after the one-point win over France that his skipper's foot looked "bloody swollen".
In November the screw was removed, and McCaw since been in heavy training, comfortably running and on track with original predictions he would return to action late March, early April.
The final procedure saw two small incisions to remove two small screws that had been put in place in lieu of the fabled titanium screw.
The Crusaders have reported he will resume training with the team and likely begin contract training at the conclusion of their South African tour against the Bulls at Loftus in round seven.
All Blacks and Crusaders doctor Deb Robinson told the NZ Herald that the operation had gone to plan.
"He is running really well and training," Robinson said from Johannesburg.
"We are really happy with his progress and Richie is really positive too."