(Reuters) - Rory McIlroy was suffering from a back problem during his South African Open playoff loss to England's Graeme Storm on Sunday and the Briton will undergo scans this week to learn the extent of the injury and time he could be forced to sit out.
McIlroy has been injury-free since missing two months with a sprained ankle in 2015, a layoff that prevented him from defending his British Open title, and the latest setback could rule him out of next week's Abu Dhabi Championship.
"I am going for a scan... to see what's up with this joint in my back. It was manageable this week with tape and a few pills so I am fine," the world number two told British media.
"But first and foremost, I have to get fully fit and healthy again. I don't want to jeopardize long-term goals for short-term gain."
It is a worrying start to the year for the four-times major winner as McIlroy targets a return to the top of the world rankings and the completion of a career grand slam at the Masters in April.
- All of these celebrities have had their nudes leaked 35 Pictures
- Here's what it's like to fish for your dinner at Zauo NYC (photos) 21 Pictures
- PHOTOS: The best cosplay of NYCC 2018, Day 3 44 Pictures
- PHOTOS: Looking back at Heidi Klum's best Halloween costumes 19 Pictures
- PHOTOS: Nightmare Machine, the haunted house for millennials 14 Pictures
- American Music Awards 2018: Red carpet looks, list of winners 23 Pictures
- What you need to know about MTV's 'How Far Is Tattoo Far?' 9 Pictures
- Who is Alexander Edwards, Amber Rose's new boyfriend? 9 Pictures
- Are Blac Chyna and Rob Kardashian getting back together? 8 Pictures
- Anne Frank's Diary now comes as a graphic novel 3 Pictures
- Reimagine End of Life celebrates all things death and dying 5 Pictures
(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru)