Lion bite victim rugby player Baldwin feared he could lose his hand

Wales's Scott Baldwin lines up ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup warm up match against Ireland August 29, 2015

Wales hooker Scott Baldwin feared he would have to have his left hand amputated after a bizarre incident in South Africa when a lion bit him last month.

The 28-year-old -- who was described as 'stupid' by his Ospreys coach Steve Tandy following the biting incident at a game reserve prior to their Pro14 match with the Cheetahs -- was told by a doctor treating him his hand might have to come off because it had been infected.

"The infection was the major issue," he told the BBC on Monday.

"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."

Baldwin, who became a social media sensation when video of the incident surfaced, underwent two operations before being allowed to fly back to Wales.

"The first day our doctor cleaned it out and stitched it up," he said.

"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 Morrison hospital in Swansea to see a plastic surgeon, and he cleaned it out once more.

"Because they had packed it with all 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, who has been with Ospreys since 2009 and has won 34 caps, says he hopes he could be back in action even this weekend in their Champions Cup clash with two-time champions Saracens.

"I've had the stitches out, and hopefully will be back in training sometime in the coming week," he said..

"I'm hoping to be available for this week, if all things go well. But that's my thought process, I don't know about the coaches and medical teams, but that's what I've got in my head.

"Steve Tandy has said we just need to get past it now. It is what it is, we just need to move on now."