PUEBLO, Colo. – 2013 World Champion J.B. Mauney was diagnosed with a torn left ACL on Wednesday after having results of his MRI reviewed by OrthoCarolina in Mooresville, North Carolina.
The No. 9 bull rider in the world has opted to not undergo surgery and expects to return to the Built Ford Tough Series at the end of April or in early May depending on how his leg is feeling after participating in physical therapy and being fitted for a brace.
“The ACL is torn,” Mauney said. “They said there might have been a slight tear in my MCL, but it will re-heal itself. We got to talking and they said surgery would keep me out six months and I would risk tearing it again. I don’t really want to sit out six months, so they said I can be fitted for a brace.”
Mauney plans to begin physical therapy early next week and expects to be fitted for the brace within seven days. He also is sending the MRI results to Dr. Tandy Freeman this week.
The 28-year-old sustained the injury during the second round of the Fresno Invitational when Bring It On stepped on him after tossing him at the 6.8-second mark.
Mauney, who tore his right MCL and rode with a brace in 2010, plans to potentially return for the Des Moines, Iowa, event (April 25-26) – if not sooner – but he is aware that he doesn’t want to rush back and miss the opportunity to compete at the next PBR Major in Las Vegas – Last Cowboy Standing (May 22-23).
“I figure it will be the end of April, but if I come back before then, I come back before then,” Mauney said. “They want to see me back at the end of April, just to see how it is going. I said, ‘Well, the main thing I want to do is there is one big bull riding in May before the break that I for sure want to go to.’
“I have been debating whether or not to wait until it and make sure it is good. It just depends how I am feeling pretty much.”
According to Mauney, doctors believe there is no significant damage to his left ankle and that the injury was a severe sprain. The ankle is no longer black and blue and that he has regained mobility.
He added that there is still swelling in his knee and soreness, but the pain has subsided since Fresno.
“As far as walking, I limp around a little bit because I can’t extend or bend my knee as good,” Mauney said. “Walking isn’t too bad. Sitting is what kills it. I get stiff and when I sleep at night it wakes me up two or three times because I will jerk it.”
Mauney plans to accompany his wife, Lexie, to some rodeos that she is competing at (barrel racing) in the coming weeks.
He is the second rider to suffer a significant injury this season while being ranked inside the Top 10 of the world standings. Chase Outlaw was ninth before undergoing surgery to repair a torn right rotator cuff.
Mauney has gone 12-for-27 (44.44 percent) on the BFTS and has won three BFTS rounds to go with two second-place finishes (Oklahoma City/New York).
This is the second consecutive season in which he has been forced to miss a significant amount of time because of injury. In 2014, he competed in a career-low 22 BFTS events after missing five events with a riding hand injury in the first half of the season before a right hip pointer and lower back strain cost him time in the second half.
“I guess it is old age that is catching up to me,” he said. “I hate banking on trying to make a run in the second half of the year – I wish I could go a full year – but it happens. Everybody gets hurt and has to deal with it. That is part of bull riding.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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