Welsh international hooker Scott Baldwin was afraid he'd lose his left hand to infection after being bitten while petting a lion in South Africa.
The 29-year-old was described as stupid by Ospreys coach Steve Tandy after suffering the wound, which needed stitches, during a pre-match visit last month to a game park ahead of a Pro14 match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
"The infection was the major issue," the 29-year-old told the BBC. "The next day, it started tracking up my arm. The surgeon said there was a chance I could lose my hand."
Scott Baldwin was ruled out of the Ospreys game against the Cheetahs because he got bitten by a Lion!! You just can't make it up!🦁 pic.twitter.com/pDOydDCM5c— EatSleepRugby (@eatsleeprugby) September 29, 2017
Baldwin underwent two operations in South Africa before flying to Swansea to consult a plastic surgeon and said he was extremely fortunate not to have suffered a worse injury.
"The bite went straight through the other side of the hand," Baldwin added.
"But I was really lucky it didn't hit any tendons or ligaments. The surgeon said it was like winning the lottery ... it was the best possible outcome considering I had been bitten by a lion."
With his stitches out, Baldwin hopes to return to training in the coming week but will make a final call after meeting his coach and medical teams.