Hamlin says he had a bone spur fixed in his left shoulder three years ago and this surgery was supposed to be for a bone spur as well.
It became more complicated when he tore two tendons in the shoulder the week leading into the October Las Vegas race.
Hamlin says he tore the tendons while participating in a sporting event away from the track.
Denny Hamlin, a 51-time winner in the NASCAR Cup Series, says the shoulder surgery he underwent last week is more extensive than he anticipated, and his participation in the Feb. 4 Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum, which is two weeks before the Daytona 500, is questionable.
“Right now, they just touch it a little bit here and there, and they say physical therapy is done for the day,” the 43-year-old Hamlin says. “So, I’m a long, long way from where I need to be. I thought I was gonna have a three-, four-week recovery like I did before and I came out knowing that I had a ton of damage that needed to be fixed. So, I think it will change my offseason a little bit.”
Hamlin says he had planned to work in the offseason on tracks where he has produced so-so performances, but that won’t happen now since he can’t be in a simulator.
“It just changes some things, and probably the first laps on track will be whatever we do in February,” Hamlin says. “Do we need to analyze The Clash? Maybe when the time comes. From what I’ve heard, they don’t want me loading it for three months. Obviously, that timeline does not line up from what I need.
“I find it hard to believe that I’ll have more pain in late January than what I did at the end of October and November. Getting through those last five races was really, really hard. So, I think if I can get through that, then, certainly, I’ll probably be able to challenge myself to get back in a car sooner than what they would want me to.”
Hamlin says he had a bone spur fixed in his left shoulder three years ago and this surgery was supposed to be for a bone spur as well. However, it became more complicated when he tore two tendons in the shoulder the week leading into the October Las Vegas race. He tore the tendons while participating in a sporting event away from the track. The following week at Homestead his car slammed into the wall during the race. The incidents simply aggravated the situation.
“Trying to race on it was just not good,” Hamlin says. “When I popped the tendons, the next thing you know I’m grinding on a rotator cuff for the rest of the year. (It) was hurting so bad, and especially the last five to six races … that it was honestly hindering some things on the race track. There were many times when I was asked to flip on a switch, and I couldn’t reach it. So, we were certainly up against the odds. I’ve always grown up being a right-hand driver. I had to switch throughout the playoffs to being just a left-hand … driver. So, it was certainly different. I had to get this fixed.”
Hamlin said he was unable to lift his right arm during the week of the Las Vegas race.
The Virginia native said his shoulder situation wasn’t the result of a racing injury, but rather genetics where “the bone just grows a little bit too long.”
“It’s obviously depressing when you wake up from your anesthesia and you know that you’ve got three months of a limp arm that you can’t do anything with,” Hamlin says.