PUEBLO, Colo. – Silvano Alves’ son, Eduardo, continuously would tell him every day this summer, ‘Let’s go to the PBR this weekend. Come on! Let’s go ride! Come on! You can get on now!’”
Well, Eduardo will get his wish Friday night at the Built Ford Tough Series Battle at the Beau in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Silvano confirmed to PBR.com that he will return to action for the first time in almost four months since breaking his left hip in Nampa, Idaho, on April 11 while attempting to ride Legal Tender.
“I am very excited and very happy to be back,” Alves said with the help of Miriaham Contreras translating. “I am excited to see how I come back. It was my kids that were anxious to see me ride because I was out for so long.”
Alves covered two practice bulls Sunday and plans to get on two to three more bulls two more times this week.
The 27-year-old admitted he was very nervous attempting his first bull since the injury, but that those doubts were quickly cast aside.
“I didn’t feel any pain,” Alves said. “I was able to cover the bulls and I felt good. I was nervous before I got on that first bull. Not in my ability to ride, but just about my hip. Once I got on the first bull and the gate opened, I realized I had no pain and nothing was wrong. I felt great and the nervousness went away.”
This was the first time in Alves’ career that he had ever been severely injured and needed surgery.
He is currently eighth in the world standings and trails Joao Ricardo Vieira by 1,856.67 points.
Alves underwent surgery for the injury on April 15, which was performed by hip specialist Dr. Alan Jones in Dallas.
He was then on crutches until May 25.
The three-time and defending World Champion proceeded to go to physical therapy at Fit – N – Wise Sports Medicine in Decatur, Texas, and credited Fernando Escobar for helping him recover from surgery.
Escobar put Alves through various exercises and training regimens to help him regain strength and flexibility in his hips. He participated in pool workout programs, as well as workouts built around resistance bands.
Escobar even sent Alves videos through the WhatsApp on his phone to help Alves continue his rehab while home in Pilar do Sul, Brazil, for his PBR Brazil bull riding event in July.
“I am very thankful that I am OK,” Alves said. “I had a great doctor (Dr. Alan Jones) and am very thankful for God and everyone that helped me. I am thankful for Fernando and David (Moy) for helping me through the rehab process.”
Moy was Alves’ physical therapist in Brazil and helped assist Alves through Escobar’s rehab program.
Alves was actually cleared by doctors to return to bull riding during the second week of July, but he decided to take an extra month off to continue his rehabilitation and make sure he was 100 percent.
The last thing Alves, who spent much of his summer team roping and on horseback, wanted was for a setback during his recovery and to possibly jeopardize his return to the BFTS.
“I haven’t ridden anywhere,” Alves said. “I didn’t ride in Brazil or here. I was waiting to come back. I didn’t want to risk anything and wanted to give myself the extra time to recover.”
Alves wasn’t always patient during his rehab process. When he first got hurt, there was a short time period of shock, frustration and concern.
“At the beginning after I first had surgery, I was missing the riding and I wanted to get back to it,” he said. “I then thought about it and I wanted to make sure I came back. I would rather ride well and be recovered than trying to ride while injured.”
PBR Director of Livestock Cody Lambert believes Alves will be a force leading up to the World Finals and that fans have yet to see the best Alves has to offer.
Lambert even called Alves a favorite to win the final PBR Major of the season – the Jack Daniel’s Music City Knockout in Nashville on Aug. 21-22.
“It looks like to me a great opportunity for Silvano to great right back in the middle of (the title race),” Lambert said. “I expect him to do it. I don’t think Silvano’s best years are behind him. I expect to see Silvano own a lot of records by the time he leaves.”
Alves – the richest bull rider ($5.5 million) in history – knows he has plenty of work to do to get back into the 2015 World Championship race and said that he didn’t know if he could catch Vieira, and declined to name a favorite for the title.
He doesn’t want to think about the World Finals right now. Instead, he is focusing on his return to Biloxi and covering his bulls one at a time.
“I am just thinking about my first event that I have to be able to show up and ride at,” he said. “I need to make sure my body feels good and I am healthy again. I think my body is ready and it can do it.
“Now it is up to me to do it.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
© 2015 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.