Recovery Road Starts For Hamlin

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Denny Hamlin will have to deal with his surgically repaired knee when he climbs into the car this Saturday to compete in the Sprint Cup Series Subway Fresh Fit 600 at Phoenix International Raceway.

"It's painful – as anyone who has had this surgery or any similar surgery can tell you – but I am working hard to get back my full range of motion and get back to where I need to be," Hamlin said. "The actual surgery went very well, no issues and no concerns so I owe big thanks to Dr. Connor and his team. They took good care of me and gave me every opportunity to be back in the car this weekend."

Since Hamlin underwent the procedure to repair the torn ACL in his left knee, he's been resting and rehabbing in anticipation of getting back to work this weekend in Arizona.

"All I can do now is work hard, follow the rehab program and see how fast I can get back," he said. "I have a couple of days yet to see how my knee responds and that will help me make the right decision when I get to Phoenix this weekend."

Hamlin is no stranger to exercise and working out but the rehab program he faces will be a challenge.

"Right now I am pretty much doing full days of rehab, working to get back my full range of motion, keeping the knee flexible and working to make it stronger while I get more comfortable with what I can and can't do right now," he said. "I spend three hours on the machine working on my range and I am making a lot of progress.

"It gets better every day and I know I am ahead of schedule for a surgery like this. I do a lot of work on my back, working my quad and stretching and spend a lot time icing it too. It's coming around but it's a long and hard process and I knew that was going to be the case. It's not fun but I know that doing this now was absolutely the right thing to do – now I am focused on getting back to racing."

Atter getting his season back on track with a win in Martinsville two weeks ago, Hamlin is anxious to continue the momentum this weekend in Phoenix. A preseason pick by many to win the 2010 championship, Hamlin feels his team is headed in the right direction after a slow start and that a title run is very much alive.

"The win felt like a long time coming even though we are only six races into this season," Hamlin said. "There were really high expectations coming off last season and every race where we didn't run as well as we wanted seemed to lead to more questions and concerns from outside of the team. Inside, we weren't panicking because we had been pretty good in almost every race.

"To win at Martinsville sets some of that aside I hope. The win points us in the right direction and takes us into what will be our next challenge of getting past this knee surgery but it's a long season and a lot can happen. We know we have a lot of work left to do."

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