BILLINGS, Mont. – In a point in the season where the Top 10 bull riders of the world standings are ravaged by injuries, 2013 World Champion J.B. Mauney is set to return to the Built Ford Tough Series from his torn left ACL.
The No. 12 bull rider in the world standings confirmed to PBR.com that he will be competing at this weekend’s Des Moines Invitational in Des Moines, Iowa.
Mauney has been out for the last month and a half and has missed five BFTS events since tearing his ACL when Bring It On stepped on him after tossing him at the 6.8-second mark during the Fresno Invitational.
The 28-year-old opted to not undergo surgery and instead has been going to physical therapy two times a week in North Carolina since sustaining the injury in March.
Mauney plans on riding with a brace, similar to when he did so in 2010 when he tore his right MCL.
“It feels good,” Mauney said. “It is still a little sore, but I can manage with it and hang on with it, and I figure with the brace it will hold up pretty good.”
Mauney is 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).
Along with the physical therapy, Mauney has been riding on horseback and has been getting on his drop barrel multiple times per week to help test out his left knee and see how it is progressing.
“Oh yeah, I have been riding horses as much as I can,” Mauney said. “I have been riding a bunch. I have been getting on the drop barrel a lot.”
He will start getting on the drop barrel this week with his knee brace to get used to it some more before flying to Des Moines on Saturday morning.
“This week I am going to wear the brace and get on the drop barrel again and get used to it,” Mauney said.
One positive to having to sit out is that Mauney had the opportunity to spend time with his wife, Lexie, and travel with her to some rodeos. He also was able to spend time with his daughter, Bella.
Mauney will be competing in the Des Moines 15/15 Bucking Battle, which can be seen on CBS network television Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.
The Mooresville, North Carolina, bull rider should have an opportunity to move up in the world standings before the summer break with a surplus of riders inside the Top 10 dealing with injuries.
On Sunday, four Top-10 riders were unable to compete in either Round 3 or the Built Ford Tough Championship Round in Billings: No. 3 Valdiron de Oliveira (left knee), No. 4 Guilherme Marchi (sore wrist), No. 9 J.W. Harris (numbness in riding hand) and No. 10 Ben Jones (neck injury).
Marchi is expected to compete in Des Moines, while the status of Oliveira, Harris and Jones is unknown as of Monday morning.
World leader Joao Ricardo Vieira has a 1,662.5-point lead on Mauney, but he is currently fighting through a rib injury that is leaving the 30-year-old short-winded by the time he hits the 8-second mark.
No. 2 bull rider Matt Triplett is trying to regain his form since coming back to the BFTS this past weekend from a torn MCL, while defending World Champion and No. 6 bull rider in the world Silvano Alves will be out until at least the beginning of the BFTS second half in August because of a fractured left hip.
Mauney is no stranger to trying to fight through injuries, but this is the second consecutive season in which he has missed five BFTS events. He missed time last year because of a riding hand injury, a right hip pointer and a lower back strain.
Although, he says it is now time to return to the BFTS.
“I’m tired of sitting at home not being there,” Mauney concluded.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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