Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) announces today Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, had successful surgery to repair the ACL in his left knee this morning.
The surgery was performed by Dr. Patrick Connor with OrthoCarolina. Hamlin injured the knee in January prior to the start of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. He is expected to make a full recovery and will be in Phoenix as scheduled for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on April 10. JGR will have driver Casey Mears on standby should Hamlin experience any complications while driving in the race and need to be replaced in the car.
"Denny had his surgery this morning and everything went well," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "He will start rehab immediately and now we can concentrate on getting his knee back to the full strength. The doctors tell us it will improve with each passing week and that he cannot damage it by driving. We expect him to be in the car in Phoenix, but we're fortunate to have Casey Mears standing by in case he would need to come out of the car for any reason."
Surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in #11-Denny Hamlin's left knee will not limit the Sprint Cup driver behind the wheel for the next race, according to one of the doctors that will perform the operation on Wednesday. "I anticipate by the time he gets to Phoenix [April 8-10] he'll have a pretty normal knee for all intents and purposes," said Dr. Bill Heisel, who will assist Dr. Patrick Connor of OrthoCarolina in Charlotte, N.C. Heisel said the winner of Monday's race at Martinsville Speedway may be in some pain or discomfort for a few weeks after the surgery, but added that range of motion to use the brake or clutch won't be impacted. "He's going to feel something, even at Phoenix," Heisel said. "The big thing is to control the swelling to get the motion going. Straight ahead he should be pretty good. Obviously, what you don't want him to do is wreck the car. But I anticipate he's going to be able to clutch and brake pretty quickly." Heisel said the procedure will involve making tunnels through Hamlin's shin bone and thigh bone to pass the tendons from a cadaver into place and lock each end with a screw. He said physical therapy will begin immediately to improve mobility and strengthen the quadriceps, and that Hamlin will have to wear a brace for a while when not in the car. "He'll be back running in three months," Heisel said. Surgery was delayed until Wednesday after Sunday's race was rained out. ESPN
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