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Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Dr. Lopez on Reynolds' knee


Reynolds, tricking out on a trick knee.

Well, it's about time we checked in on the most talked about body part in professional surfing, Dane Reynold's knee.

As we all know, Reynolds hurt his knee surfing in Hawaii in December. He reportedly tweaked it on the backwash while riding a fish at Pupukea. He was still able to surf the Billabong Pipeline Masters -- all the way to the semifinals, actually (even attempting an inhuman slob air) but was admittedly injured.

The Reynolds camp announced that he would undergo surgery on January 17, and likely miss the start of the 2011 ASP season. In a Matt Higgins report for ESPN last month, Reynolds was relieved that it wasn't a full ACL tear.

Well, according to Shea Lopez, who I spoke with last night, Dane's surgery and recovery are both very optimistic.

"It was just a meniscus, which was repaired with arthroscopic surgery It went really well and he's rehabbing now," reports Lopez from Florida.

So why is Lopez, the Floridian slasher who did ten years on the World Tour, mostly in the Top 16, suddenly an authority on knee surgery? Did he find time between family, freesurfs, and ASP punditry to get handy with a scalpel?

Actually, in addition to being friends with Dane, there are two reasons that Lopez is so knowledgeable on the subject. One -- his brother Cory, also an ex-tour vet, has the first alternate spot to surf the Quik Gold Coast Pro. Two -- he himself had one of the goriest knee blow-outs pro surfing has ever seen.

"It was basically the worst knee injury you can imagine. I tore my ACL, PCL, and MCL," Lopez says.

Hence, he has become quite the expert on that particular joint.

Dr. Shea's knee feels great.

"First he's resting, then ice, then weight bearing activities," says Lopez, "Then you get in the water. When you have an injury like this after a certain age, you have constant rehab for the rest of your life."

Lopez, 36, adds that his own knee, which he originally crushed in 2003, feels great today because of his strict rehabilitation regiment.

"Dane could possibly surf the Gold Coast event. He could throw on a knee brace. He might not care if he was surfing at 100 percent. He might just go out and give it 100 percent anyway," says Lopez, "It isn't advisable. With a knee injury like this, there's always a weakness and he could hurt it worse."

And therein lies the question. What will Dane do? He famously told the world that he might not do the tour this year. It's no secret that Dane doesn't run heats in his sleep like a Mick Fanning. But that's not all there is to a career. Dane loves surfing -- weather he's spinning alley oops at home in Ventura or riding a fish at Pupukea. And for those reasons, he will probably take er' easy. There's just too much to lose.