Hamlin To Undergo Knee Surgery
March 27, 2010 | 9:42 A.M. EST
"The thing is it hampers every day now and it was going to hamper every day until the end of the season from now," Hamlin said of the injury. "It reached a point where it was starting to get better and everything like that, starting to walk fine and I thought, ‘Hey, this is no problem, it’s going to be fine and I can go until the end of the season with it like this.’ I’ve had what they call a couple buckle moments where my knee will just give out and what that’s done is that has caused the further damage. That happens just from standing in one spot. When that’s happened, at least I know once we get it over with on Monday, every day will be better from there on out."
The surgery will be 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.
“When we first reviewed the situation we thought Denny couldn’t do any further damage to his knee if he waited to have surgery, but as the season progressed we determined that the best plan of action was to go ahead and have it repaired,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. “Hopefully this will take care of the situation and he should get stronger each week.”
Hamlin is expected to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Phoenix on April 10.
"We’re going to do the cadaver graph so it’s going to be a false piece that they will add in there," Hamlin said. "It just depends on how your body handles it. Right now he says that I’ll be able to get in the car at Phoenix – there’s no doubt that I’ll be able to get in it. It’s just tolerance of pain is what’s going to be the limiting factor. I’m not going to do any further damage to it once it’s done. It’s going to be strictly pain limited."
If Hamlin is unable to compete in any races JGR has a back-up plan.
"We’re going to have Casey Mears standing by for a few weeks just to see how things go," Hamlin said. "Obviously, they’ve been trying to get that program together and we felt like he was our best option as far as being able to use someone to get a good finish."