By: Justin Felisko
July 20, 2017
PUEBLO, Colo. – Two-time World Champion J.B. Mauney may have been laid up in bed earlier this week recovering from season-ending reconstructive right shoulder surgery, but the 30-year-old was very aware of the comments that began to trickle across social media channels.
First off, Mauney was extremely grateful for all of the thoughts and prayers that were offered to him and his family, but let’s just say Mauney wants to set the record straight before anyone thinks this is the end of the road for the future PBR Ring of Honor inductee.
Mauney will be back for the 2018 season.
“What I really like seeing is the people posting I am old and I won’t come back,” Mauney said with a laugh before immediately getting serious.
“When I do come back, I will show them what I am really made of. I will be back, for sure.”
The North Carolina cowboy says he is extremely prepared for the long road to recovery that awaits him over the next six months following the most extensive surgery of his 12-year PBR career.
Mauney, who turns 31 in January, was seriously injured following his 90.5-point ride on Cowahbunga at the 2017 Calgary Stampede last week and underwent extensive shoulder reconstruction surgery on Tuesday.
Dr. Tandy Freeman inserted 13 anchors and a screw into Mauney’s free arm shoulder. The surgery included ligament repair, rotator cuff repair, transplantation of his bicep tendon and removal of bone fragments.
Mauney’s ligaments and tendon were torn completely off the bone in Calgary, something Freeman was not sure he had ever seen before in his 23 years as the PBR’s official on-site doctor.
“It was pretty much mangled,” Mauney admitted Wednesday afternoon during his first interview since the surgery. “I separated my shoulder a few times (before Calgary), but it was not nearly as bad as some guys’ shoulders. I guess I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The ground I hit up there, they have a shell around the bucking chute that is pretty hard. I hit right on it. I guess that impact just mangled it.”
Mauney admitted his Calgary injuries were the worst of his PBR career, but explained that they don’t really match up with a lacerated liver as a teenager that “nearly killed” him just before he turned pro.
He has already scheduled a follow-up appointment this week with Freeman, and Mauney will not return home to North Carolina with his wife, Samantha, until undergoing his first rehabilitation session Friday at a to-be-determined Dallas facility.
Mauney will then immediately look into beginning the rehabilitation process near his home in Statesville.
“Everyone that wants to say, ‘I am old and I won’t come back.’ I am not that old yet. When I got hurt, that was the best I felt in a really long time,” Mauney said. “I was riding really good.”
Mauney was fifth in the PBR world standings and had a record-tying third World Championship in his sights before his season-ending injuries.
He is only 1,083.76 points behind world leader Eduardo Aparecido, and his ride on Cowahbunga capped off a 3-for-4 winning performance during Pool B of the Calgary Stampede.
The historically dominant second-half Built Ford Tough Series rider was heating up at just the right time, and looked poised for another world title push.
Mauney will still qualify for a 12th consecutive PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals after going 21-for-47 (44.68 percent) in 14 events – the fewest of his career since competing in 15 during his rookie year (2006).
His victory in Billings, Montana, was the 31st of his career and has him one away from tying two-time World Champion Justin McBride for the most career event wins in PBR history. Two more qualified rides in 2018 will put him alongside 2008 World Champion Guilherme Marchi and 2004 World Champion Mike Lee as the only riders with 500 rides on the BFTS.
The 90-point ride master has been known throughout his career for defying odds and coming back to competition from injury sooner rather than later, but even Mauney admits this time that won’t be the case.
“Nah, I doubt it,” Mauney said. “Unless some kind of miracle happens between now and November. It is not looking so good right now for that. I can dang near pick the arm up or anything. Right now, it is like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s arm is on my body.”
This will be the first time in Mauney’s career that he will be unable to compete at the World Finals for at least one round. His streak of 10 straight Top 10 finishes in the world standings, as well as four consecutive Top-4 finishes, will also likely come to an end.
Regardless, this latest setback has Mauney motivated to prove to everyone he still has another World Championship run in him.
“Oh yeah, I will be in the (title race) next year,” Mauney concluded. “Once I get through all of this rehab and everything, I will be in the best shape of my life. I can’t smoke anymore. I won’t be a smoker anymore, and I will be in the best shape of my life.”
“I will (return) riding really good.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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