New Evidence Suggests John Florence Tore His ACL - Stab Mag

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New Evidence Suggests John Florence Tore His ACL

Will Kelly Slater get an Olympic start after all?

news // May 19, 2021
Words by Michael Ciaramella
Reading Time: 2 minutes

On May 7, we learned that John Florence had hurt his knee in the Margaret River WSL event and was returning home to receive treatment.

That treatment ended up being some form of surgery, performed by operator-to-the-stars, Dr. Warren G. Kramer. John did not disclose what part of his knee was being repaired or how, but he did say that the 2021 Olympic Games were “attainable”.

This raised the question: what kind of knee surgery allows you to compete in an elite-level surf event in less than three months? We asked three medical professionals for their unofficial opinions, and all of them said the only logical option would be a meniscus scrape, as any other type of surgery (MCL, ACL, etc.) takes a minimum of four months to heal enough to surf, and probably six to surf competitively.

Alas, new info has arisen and led our medical professionals to a different conclusion entirely.

Guess which knee has had more surgeries.

This photo, posted to John Florence’s Instagram page just a few hours ago, shows bandages that are inconsistent with a meniscus repair. I received a flurry of messages from my original sources stating as much, so I went ahead and asked our ER doctor to confirm.

Me: Does this photo still say meniscus to you?

Doc: No way. That’s an ACL.

Me: Would you say you’re 100% certain?

Doc: Not sure about those wounds on the side or his leg, but the bandages on the front are ACL for sure.

Me: If that’s the case, how is John gonna be ready to surf in Tokyo?

Doc: Maybe that surgeon just came up with a new way to fix an ACL. Otherwise, Kelly is surfing in Tokyo.

As proven by our previous (failed) attempt, it’s nearly impossible to diagnose someone’s ailment from a photo (and caption) on the internet. But bandages mean scars, and scars tell a story. John Florence has likely received treatment on his left ACL, which means he’ll likely not surf in the 2021 Tokyo Games.

…That is assuming he’ll forfeit the spot if he’s not well enough to compete. Technically, as we learned from Team USA surf coach Brett Simpson, John is not obligated to surrender his Olympic spot, even if he’s unable to walk.

While we might not know the extent (or location) of John’s injury, I can say with certainty that the next few months will be interesting.


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