Tiger Woods announced today that he has undergone a successful procedure on his back, performed by Dr. Richard Guyer of the Center for Disc Replacement at the Texas Back Institute. Whew, that was a mouthful. This is Tiger’s fourth back surgery following previous procedures on herniated discs in his back. He’s been dealing with Sciatica and severe back and leg pain. Having experienced Sciatica myself, I can tell you it’s no picnic.
Conservative therapy, which included rehabilitation, medications, limiting activities and injections failed as a permanent solution, so Woods opted to have surgery. The procedure is described as a minimally invasive Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (MIS ALIF) at L5/S1. The surgery entailed removing the damaged disc and re-elevating the collapsed disc space to normal levels. The goal is to relieve the pressure on the nerve and to give the nerve the best chance of healing.
In an official statement, Woods said “The surgery went well, and I’m optimistic this will relieve my back spasms and pain. When healed, I look forward to getting back to a normal life, playing with my kids, competing in professional golf and living without the pain I have been battling so long.”
He’ll miss at least six months according to his official statement, but I think it’ll be longer to get back in playing shape if all goes well with his rehab. Unofficially, I think it’s time for Tiger to call it a career. How many back surgeries can a golfer come back from? It’s hard for normal people to come back to golf after spinal fusion, but to come back from 4 back surgeries and play at the highest level is kind of a pipe dream if you ask me.
What do you think? Is Tiger done, or will he be back?