Breaking: John Florence Undergoes Knee Surgery - Stab Mag
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Breaking: John Florence Undergoes Knee Surgery

Will he be back in time for the Olympics?

Words by Michael Ciaramella

Major update on John Florence’s recent injury saga: he’s officially undergone knee surgery.

Not five hours ago, John posted a photo of himself in a hospital bed surrounded by his wife, surgeon to the (surf) stars Warren Kramer, and his right-hand man Erik Knutson.

John’s caption reads:

I woke up to the report from the surgeon that everything went as well as possible, and the procedure I had will give me the opportunity to surf at full strength sooner than I had hoped. Feeling motivated to really know that the Olympics are attainable. I’m excited for this and I’m gonna do everything I can to make it happen!

John’s post fails to explain what part of his knee was injured (ACL, MCL, meniscus etc.) or the extent of it. This comes after yesterday’s post where he said:

Since hurting my knee I’ve been through a whole range of emotions. It was really difficult for me to accept the injury at first. But I’m starting to realize that it’s just part of life, sometimes we get knocked down, we all go through hard times. So here we go again another challenge to overcome. I received so many nice messages from people checking in on me – I really appreciate all of them. There’s so many things to look forward to and I’m feeling grateful for the support. I should know more details very soon and will share with everyone when I have them

The fact that John thinks he might compete two-and-half months after surgery is surprising. The fact that both of America’s male Olympic qualifiers have gotten surgery within four months of the games is distressing. The fact that Kelly Slater is waiting in the wings warms this writer’s soul.

As far as the WSL situation goes, here’s where we’re at: John is currently ranked number four in the world. Following the Rottnest event, he will fall to fifth at the very least but potentially further. Assuming the schedule stays the same, John will miss Lemoore (in June) and presumably Mexico (early July, assuming it runs) as he rehabs his injury. The Olympics will run from late-July to early-August, after which comes Brazil, which we have on good authority will not run due to covid. That leaves just Tahiti for John to regain his spot before the WSL finals.

Long story short, John’s chances of qualifying in the top-5 will rely entirely on Teahupo’o. He’ll likely need a finals finish to retain his place in the World Title Race, assuming he can even surf by then.

We wish John nothing but the best — competitive surfing is not the same without him.

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