By: Justin Felisko
October 12, 2018
PUEBLO, Colo. – Reigning World Champion Jess Lockwood was featured in an Instagram story by 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi on Thursday as he joined Marchi at Dr. Tandy Freeman’s office in Texas.
Like Marchi, Lockwood has also received somewhat good news.
Lockwood’s recovery from a torn right groin is going well, and he could even return to competition if he wanted to next week at the DeWalt Guaranteed Tough Invitational, presented by Cooper Tires, in Nampa, Idaho, on Oct. 20-21.
However, Lockwood is going to continue to rehab outside of the arena with the goal of being 100 percent healthy for the 2018 PBR World Finals on Nov. 7-11 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“I am just going to hop on a bucking machine this week to see how it feels,” Lockwood said. “I will get on practice bulls in three weeks. I will keep working out and doing hot yoga. Get feeling great for the Finals.”
The 21-year-old has missed the last four weeks because of the injury and was expected to be out eight to 12 weeks when an MRI revealed the tear on Sept. 13.
The Finals is four weeks away.
Lockwood vigorously began a rehab program at Fit-N-Wise Rehabilitation & Performance Center in Texas and has worked his way back into shape.
The Volborg, Montana, native has fallen to 11th in the world standings during his absence, trailing world leader Kaique Pacheco by 2,939.16 points.
Historically, any rider within 2,000 points of the world lead has a good shot at the World Championship; one rider can earn a maximum of 3,300 points at the World Finals.
In theory, Lockwood could make up a couple hundred points on Pacheco if he were to win Nampa and then win the Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Oct. 26-27.
It would take a herculean effort, but Lockwood does have a slim, outside chance at the world title if he were to return in dominant fashion.
Lockwood, though, doesn’t believe the risk versus the reward is worth jeopardizing a setback in his recovery when there is so many points and over $400,000 up for grabs for one rider at the Finals.
“I could win (Nampa) and give myself a shot at the world, but that is kind of like winning a jackpot lottery type deal at this point,” Lockwood said. “Why not give it four more weeks and let it be as good as it possibly can be and go win the Finals. I will feel greater than everyone going into the Finals because I will have been resting for over two months.”
Lockwood appeared poised to make a run at back-to-back world titles before injuring his groin at the Music City Knockout in August attempting to ride Locke & Loaded (6.11 seconds). He then re-aggravated the injury last month in Springfield during his 70-point ride on Powder Puff.
The 2016 Rookie of the Year won the 2017 World Championship by winning the first three rounds of the World Finals.
He is focusing on now becoming the eighth rider in PBR history to have a World Championship and World Finals event title on his resume.
LOCKWOOD LAUNCHES CLOTHING/LIFESTYLE BRAND
Lockwood has kept busy during his time away from the sport, focusing on launching his personal clothing and lifestyle brand at jesslockwood.com when he hasn’t been rehabbing.
The third-year pro, who also attended a Texas A&M home football game, wants his brand to represent two distinct characteristics – strength and determination.
“Right now it is just hats and shirts, but in a week or two we are going to offer sweatshirts. I want to get sweats and then jeans. Then just keep growing it and growing it with all sorts of stuff.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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