Rehabilitating Woods could miss U.S. Open, say surgeons

Fri Apr 4, 2014 6:59pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

(Reuters) - Tiger Woods could be sidelined from competitive golf for at least three months after undergoing back surgery, casting doubt over his participation in the June 12-15 U.S. Open, say several leading sports surgeons.

The world number one, whose back pain surfaced last year and intensified this season, will miss the Masters next week for the first time in his career after being advised by his doctors on Monday to have a microdiscectomy in Park City, Utah.

Woods, whose back problems forced him to retire from last month's Honda Classic before he skipped the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his traditional Masters warm-up event, has been told by his doctors that he will miss "several upcoming tournaments" during his rehabilitation.

His surgery involved the removal of herniated disc material that pressed on a nerve root or the spinal cord.

"In general, it takes six weeks for the soft tissues to heal, even from the microdiscectomy surgery," Michael Leighton, a surgeon at the Palm Beach Orthopaedic Institute in Florida, told Reuters by telephone on Friday.

"Tiger certainly can be working his short game sooner than that, probably after three or four weeks at the latest.

"But it will take him six weeks before he is ready to start swinging a club with his usual ability. He will probably be ready to play somewhere around three months after his surgery."

An absence from competition of that length would rule Woods out of the year's second major, the U.S. Open to be played at Pinehurst, North Carolina in mid-June.   Continued...

Mar 9, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Tiger Woods lines up a putt on the 2nd green during the final round of the WGC - Cadillac Championship golf tournament at TPC Blue Monster at Trump National Doral. Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports