Melbourne:South Africa captain Graeme Smith has admitted that he may have to sit out of the return series against Australia in his home turf if the injured elbow does not heal after injecting his own blood.
Smith will fly home after the ongoing third Test at the SCG to treat his elbow and will skip the five-match ODI series starting on January 16.
If his elbow does not heal after the own blood injection procedure Smith said he would have to undergo surgery and in that case he will have to miss the Test series against Australia at home which starts in Johannesburg from February 26.
"Obviously this (blood injection) is the last port of call before surgery and hopefully it works. If it doesn't, I'll go as far as I can and do what I have to do, I guess," Smith said.
"I think it's probably reached the point of surgery, but the length of time out after having surgery is probably eight to 12 weeks, so it doesn't give me much time to do that now.
"The length of time needed to recover from surgery fully wouldn't allow me to be fit for the home series. I guess we've got to look and see where we go and see how the home series goes and hopefully something works out," he added.
Smith said the procedure of injecting own blood into the damaged area of his elbow was something that has not been done before and he is hoping it works.
"It's not a gamble at all. It's pretty simple, I guess. You take your own blood and inject it into the tear. It sounds pretty simple.
"Most of the studies have been done over here and it's been done a few times with some success. Hopefully it works. If it doesn't, then I go to surgery. You have to have one (injection) now and then one in six weeks' time and then pretty much you can go after that, apparently," he was quoted as saying by 'Daily Telegraph'.
Smith said that he had considered missing the dead-rubber third Test at the SCG but decided to play as he wanted to be involved in a series whitewash of the Australians.
"I just feel that I can, hopefully, push it out one more game. It's been such a terrific year and series that I would like to finish it on a high with the boys and hopefully play some good cricket in the next five days and then do whatever I can to make sure I'm hopefully strong and ready for the series back home."