Hamlin discusses decision to set out Richmond, possible surgery Denny Hamlin met with the media Thursday at Richmond:
What did the doctors see that is keeping you out of this race? "They were -- during our call yesterday they were speaking as much Chinese as I could understand. I saw the scan and saw the healing that they were talking about. However, some kind of in-plate is not healing the way that they wanted it and that's what they wanted in order to clear me. Really, that was their determining factor and, obviously, my injury is very, very hard because there is no exact science to the risk. They don't -- no one knows what the risk will be if I race this week or if I race two weeks from now. Bone healing is completely subjective. It takes bone healing a year most times to be 100 percent, so how do you quantify how much more risk is there this week versus two weeks down the road or three weeks down the road or two months down the road, so that's the tough part of it -- everyone is erring on the cautious side because no one ultimately wants to be responsible and have their name on the line of clearing a driver and then he goes out and gets hurt."
Do you still feel like you can compete in a portion of the Talladega race? "They all came to the conclusion they were happy with me starting Talladega and getting out when it's a safe time to get out. Ultimately, we even talked about doing that here at Richmond, but it's unfair to the team for me to get out and then go three or four laps down on pit road and really know that the team's not going to finish any better than 35th -- why would they even show up for that? So, I think it's better for them to at least have a chance to win with one full-time driver and we decided not to do that this weekend and we'll start our process at Talladega and then rescan again and try to go to Darlington."
Is there a possibility of surgery? "We talked briefly about the injury that I deal with every day and that was not the main focus of our conversation, but I think that it is going to be a possibility in the off-season. If I get back to it in a timely fashion in the Cup Series this year then am still able to salvage some kind of season, then obviously it's not going to be an option until the off-season. So, either way, I'd like to get it fixed and get it over with."
At what point will you consider not returning this season? "I think if this goes past Darlington then I don't know what the chances of us making the Chase are even if we were to race this weekend, race next weekend or the one after -- I don't know the chances. There's a lot of good teams that you have to beat to guarantee you're going to win the races. Obviously, if it goes past Darlington our chances are crushed even harder. Eventually you have to have a shut down point of not going out there and racing for nothing at a point. I think a recovery on the kind of surgery that I would like to have is about a month-and-a-half or so -- I could potentially come back maybe for the tail end of the year. It wouldn't be a season-ending -- I don't think anything would be season-ending I guess you could say. Eventually you have to know the point at which you're looking at improbabilities of making the Chase and just being smart about it. If everyone keeps getting these penalties, I'm going to be the points leader soon." Toyota PR
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