Ajax Cape Town fullback Thulani Hlatshwayo returned to training on Monday with a specially fitted gum guard as he recovers from surgery to stitch together a split gum after being involved in a head-on-head collision in the Premier Soccer League last month.
Hlatshwayo also had three teeth knocked out after a clash with fellow defender Aidan Jenniker late in the 4-1 win over Platinum Stars at the Cape Town Stadium on August 31.
He will have further surgery in December to sort out the teeth, club officials told Goal.com on Monday.
Both players went up to clear the same ball in the match at the Cape Town Stadium, leaving Hlatshwayo’s mouth split and his head concussed, even though he walked off with little assistance.
Jenniker, who stayed on the field until the end of the game, later received two stitches in a wound on the top of his head.
Hlatshwayo missed Sunday’s 2-1 loss for Ajax at Bloemfontein Celtic – the first game back for the club after the one-sided win over Stars.
The under-23 international only needs the specially constructed gum guard for when he is involved in physical contact training, but Ajax said he spent Monday doing light exercises and running on his own.