The entire sporting world was shocked when golf legend Tiger Woods figured in a serious single-vehicle crash earlier this week. Thankfully, he survived the accident but serious injuries on his legs have put the future of his career in doubt.

Woods suffered the bulk of his injuries on his lower right leg. An emergency surgery following the accident is believed to have involved the insertion of a steel rod into his leg, which had multiple open fractures.

The damage on his tibia and fibula is extensive, requiring doctors to support his ankle with pins and screws. Needless to say, it will be a while before Woods can walk normally again, let alone compete in the highest level.

Tiger Woods crash
Tiger Woods's crash occurred on a steep stretch of road known as an accident hotspot AFP / Frederic J. BROWN

The BBC asked the opinion of former PGA tour player and qualified orthopaedic surgeon Bill Mallon, who weighed in on the 45-year-old's status. He thinks that Woods will most likely recover from his injuries. However, it is important that he doesn't experience any infection on his surgery site.

Mallon thinks that Woods will have to be careful with his painkillers, knowing that he has had a complicated history with the drug. Doctors will have to monitor his pain management regime very closely.

It will also be a while before he can play golf again, since he probably won't even be allowed to put much weight on the leg. Even thought the left leg bears more of the pressure in golf, the right leg if important in supporting the backswing.

A major fracture on the leg takes about three months to heal, but he will likely require months of therapy to walk normally again. Playing golf therefore, is not looking like a possibility within the year, at least not in its competitive form.

Tiger Woods is also recovering from back surgery, and his accident will also compromise his progress. At 45, it is not impossible for Woods to recover and play golf again. However, how well he can play is another question altogether.

After winning 15 major titles and cementing his place as a golfing legend, it remains to be seen if Woods will still have enough motivation to get himself back up to competitive form.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods has battled back pain for years, but made a comeback after his fourth back operation to win the 2019 Masters GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Rob Carr