Wales hooker Scott Baldwin has revealed he feared he would lose his hand after it was bitten by a lion last month.
Baldwin sustained the injury after attempting to stroke the animal at a game lodge ahead of the Ospreys' Pro14 clash with the Cheetahs.
The bizarre incident ruled him out of the Welsh region's defeat in Bloemfontein and he is yet to make his playing return.
Baldwin's injuries required stitches but the 29-year-old says an infection posed the biggest threat.
"The infection was the major issue," he told the BBC.
"The next day it started tracking up my arm. The surgeon said there was a chance I could lose my hand.
"The bite went straight through the other side of the hand, but I was really lucky it didn't hit any tendons or ligaments.
"The surgeon said it was like winning the lottery, he said it was the best possible outcome considering I had been bitten by a lion."
Discussing his recovery, Baldwin - capped 34 times by Wales - added: "The first day our doctor cleaned it out and stitched it up. But the following day we went to the hospital after it had become infected.
"I had my first operation on the Thursday, second operation on the Friday, and then I was allowed to fly home Saturday on the understanding I had an IV drip and went straight to hospital when I got back.
"I was transferred to Morriston Hospital in Swansea to see a plastic surgeon, and he cleaned it out once more.
"Because they had packed it with all of the stuff to stop the infection, my skin was so loose he didn't have to take a skin graft, so I was really fortunate there."
Baldwin hopes to be in contention to feature for the Ospreys against Saracens in the Champions Cup on Saturday.
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