Super middleweight champion Andre Ward will begin rehabilitation on his right shoulder in the coming days following surgery on Friday to repair a tear in the joint.
"My surgery went very well, and I am definitely pleased with the outcome," Ward said. "I had a fantastic team of surgeons overseeing everything on Friday morning, and they did a great job of repairing the injury. I am confident that I will return to the ring even better than I was prior to the injury."
Ward (26-0, 14 KOs), 28, of Oakland, Calif., was training for a Jan. 26 title defense against former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik when he injured the shoulder in a November sparring session. The original MRI on Ward's shoulder showed significant swelling and inflammation, and his doctor recommended rest and rehabilitation.
The fight was going to be rescheduled for March 2, but when Ward showed little improvement a few weeks later, he sought a second opinion from Dr. Michael Dillingham, the orthopedic surgeon for the San Francisco Giants and doctor for the San Francisco 49ers from 1983 to 2007.
After a subsequent MRI revealed a small tear in Ward's right shoulder capsule, Ward took Dillingham's recommendation for surgery, which he performed in the Bay Area along with his partners Dr. Ken Akizuki (team orthopedist for the Giants) and Joe Donahue (former 49ers assistant team orthopedist and current team physician for Santa Clara University).
"Technically, things went very well, and all involved are very hopeful about the eventual outcome," Dillingham said. "Within a week, Andre will begin his rehab."
Promoter Dan Goossen announced that Lisa Giannone of Active Care Physical Therapy in San Francisco will head Ward's rehabilitation team.
There is no specific timetable for Ward's return, although he is likely out four to six months.
Ward's arm is in a sling, but once it is is removed, Dillingham "will be better prepared to give a timeline for Andre's recovery process," Goossen said. "Andre has always surpassed everyone's expectations, and I told Dr. Dillingham he can expect the same fire from Andre with his rehabilitation as the fans see when he's in the ring."
Ward, a 2004 U.S. Olympic gold medalist and 2011 fighter of the year, unified 168-pound world titles in the final of the Super Six World Boxing Classic in December 2011 with a dominant decision victory against Carl Froch to lock up fighter of the year honors. But Ward was limited to just one fight in 2012, partly because of a fractured right hand he suffered in his final sparring session before facing Froch with the injury.
In his one fight, Ward scored a dominant 10th-round knockout of light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson, who came down in weight, on Sept. 8.
Ward is anxious to get back in the ring once he goes through his rehab.
"I really want to thank everyone for all of the prayers and support that my family and I have received," Ward said. "We truly appreciate it, and it has helped throughout this process. I can't wait to get back out there and perform for all my fans and plan to keep everyone updated on my progress. The best is yet to come, so stay tuned."