Mark Martin Has Surgery

Martin underwent knee surgery Wednesday By Dave Rodman DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 6, 1999) Mark Martin, who sported a splint on his wrist during Saturday night's Pepsi 400, underwent knee surgery Wednesday. Mark Martin completed Saturday ...

Mark Martin Has Surgery

Martin underwent knee surgery Wednesday By Dave Rodman

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 6, 1999) Mark Martin, who sported a splint on his wrist during Saturday night's Pepsi 400, underwent knee surgery Wednesday. Mark Martin completed Saturday night's Pepsi 400 with more damage than originally suspected, including a broken rib and knee damage, his orthopedic surgeon revealed Tuesday. And Wednesday, Martin had surgery on a broken tibia plateau in his left knee at Bertfish Medical Center in New Smynra Beach, Fla. The surgery was performed by Dr. Chuck Kollmer. Martin will be able to drive in Sunday's Jiffy Lube 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, wearing the same knee brace he has worn all week.

Kollmer also expects to perform surgery on Martin's lower back to stabilize it on Nov. 23 -- two days after the NASCAR Winston Cup Series season finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Martin had planned to have the surgery between the 1998 and '99 seasons but ultimately decided to wait.

Right now it's the injuries from Martin's crash on the backstretch at Daytona International Speedway last Friday night in "Happy Hour" practice for the Pepsi 400 that concern the driver and his Roush Racing organization. Martin's Valvoline/Cummins Ford apparently suffered a cut right front tire that caused it to veer into the outside wall midway through the one-hour session.

Martin initially was diagnosed with a fractured left wrist and a hard cast was applied to it on Saturday. However, the cast did not allow him enough movement as he tried to grip the steering wheel and, spokesman Benny Ertel said, his hand "went to sleep" during the race, further restricting his movement to the point that Martin was contemplating trying to cut the cast off midway through the 400-mile, 160-lap event.

On Sunday, Kollmer fashioned a removable, hinged cast with hard protection for his wrist fracture and a soft attachment for his hand. In the process of doing that exam, Kollmer asked Martin to bend over and touch his toes and the driver found he could not easily perform the function. X-rays revealed a right rib broken near the spine, which would tend to give him trouble trying to bend over as opposed to a frontal rib fracture, which would restrict his ability to breath easily, the doctor said.

Still, the knee remains the biggest "bone" of contention. Martin spent all day Monday in North Carolina, Ertel said, while attending services for Captain Ron Brown, who was Martin's pilot for some four years earlier in his career. Brown passed away while on vacation in South Carolina.

Martin was at home resting comfortably here on Tuesday afternoon, Ertel said.

"The wrist and the rib are nothing -- I can deal with them," Martin reportedly told Kollmer, "but the knee is killing me."

Martin reportedly took a steering wheel to Kollmer's office in New Smyrna Beach, just south of Daytona Beach, and the doctor fashioned a special splint cast that has a soft hand grip that Martin can adjust using Velcro fasteners, if necessary, during caution periods.

Ertel said that contrary to initial opinions, Martin had no marks on his left knee from striking anything inside the car and he felt that when he stiffened his leg to depress his car's brake pedal during the accident the knee possibly rotated and tore something inside the joint.

Martin is now outfitted with a knee brace from mid-thigh to mid-calf to support the joint. Martin, an avid fitness and workout fanatic cannot do any physical activity besides stretching exercises, Ertel said. He has also had limited sessions with a masseuse, which have also been impeded by his injuries.

"Once he's in the car he's comfortable -- he's fine," Ertel said. "It's just that he has a hard time everywhere else. Still, he plans to test next week (Tuesday and Wednesday) at Indianapolis. We just wanted his fans to know what he's been going through."

Ertel said the team's plan is to "be on its game when we get to New Hampshire, so Mark doesn't have to get in and out of the car much while he's practicing. Sitting in the race car doesn't bother him - it's hobbling around that does."

Ertel said the plan is to leave one day early for New Hampshire, on Thursday, to allow Martin to arrive and rest rather than leaving early Friday morning.

Source: NASCAR Online

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