WWF.com interview (5/22/01)
(Done the day after HHH's quad tear)

Triple H is hobbling around the backstage area on crutches. His entire left leg is heavily bandaged, with a brace on top of the bandages. Most of his World Wrestling Federation peers see him, embrace him, offer their sympathies and wish him well. But The Game is in good spirits and he jokes that he was just looking for a way to take the summer off. But the four-time Federation Champion's injury is no laughing matter. On Monday night's RAW IS WAR, Chris Jericho had Stone Cold Steve Austin locked in the Walls of Jericho. Triple H came from behind and clobbered Y2J. But when The Game planted his left leg, he immediately knew that something was wrong. He could barely stand. But he somehow finished the match, even taking the Walls of Jericho on the announcers' table. On Tuesday, Triple H made plans to fly to Birmingham, Ala., to have surgery on Thursday. Dr. James Andrews, the world-renowned orthopedic surgeon, will perform the operation. Also on Tuesday, in yet another example of his professionalism, The Game took time out to chat with WWF.com. He had just finished watching the tape of Monday's RAW- and the match in which he tore the quadriceps muscle in his left leg.

WWF.com: Is that the first time you've watched the match?

Triple H: Yes.

WWF.com: So what was it like?

Triple H: Well, I was happy with the match. It's not like something brutal happened where my leg broke or something like that. It doesn't look like anything really happened. It just looks like part of the match and next thing you know (after the match ended) I'm down. It was a freak thing. Watching it back doesn't do anything. I was very happy with the match though.

WWF.com: How did it happen?

Triple H: Chris Jericho had Stone Cold in the Walls of Jericho. I hit him from behind for the save, and when I planted my foot on the punch, my quad tore.

WWF.com: I overheard you mention to someone else that it felt like you'd been shot in the leg.

Triple H: It just felt like I've been shot in the leg, and a zipper at the same time. It popped in one spot and I just felt it shoot up my thigh. The muscle basically tore and then rolled up.

WWF.com: And you knew right away that you were hurt?

Triple H: I knew it was pretty serious.

WWF.com: Then you went on to take the Walls of Jericho. That must've been the most painful Walls of Jericho of all time.

Triple H: Yeah. It didn't feel too great. At that point, I tore the muscle. It was completely torn. I was in tremendous pain but I made the decision to continue the match. Jericho put me in the Walls of Jericho. It felt like he was ripping my leg off- it really did.

WWF.com: Whwy did you decide to continue?

Triple H: It's what I do. This business is your heart and soul. You give everything for it. And at that point it wasn't about me, it wasn't about how I felt. It was about that match. I made the decision at that point to finish the match. I would have to be a lot more hurt than that to not continue.

WWF.com: After the match, you were lying outside on the mat in obvious pain. What's going through your head?

Triple H: "I'm f***ed" is basically what's going through my head. "I am absolutely f****ed." I knew it was bad, but I didn't know what it was. I didn't know if I had blown out my ACL. I didn't know if I had tore my patella tendon. I didn't know if I had torn a muscle. I didn't know what I done, but I knew it was bad. I couldn't put any weight on my leg. I couldn't flex my thigh. I couldn't do anything. It was killing me. I knew it was bad.

WWF.com: And then what happened?

Triple H: They come out (referees and trainers). I told them I was hurt. They asked me what had happened. I tried to tell them. They carried me to the back. When I got out back, there was a doctor- Dr. Arthur Ting, the team orthopedic doctor from the San Jose Sharks. He took a look at my leg and told me he thought I tore something- tore part of my quad. He arranged for me to get an MRI done pretty much immediately. So I went right from the ring, to a stretcher, to a vehicle, to the MRI place- still in my gear. I got the MRI done and it showed that I had indeed tore my quad. There are four sections to your quad. I tore the underneath section. It looks like it's a complete tear. At this point I'm just waiting to have surgery on Thursday.

WWF.com: They won't know the full extent of the injury until you actually have the surgery, right?

Triple H: They can tell somewhat with the MRI. But until they get in there, they can't tell the extent of the tendon damage and things like that. They're going to do what they can. I'm going to go see basically the best guy in the country, Dr. Jim Andrews in Birmingham. He did my other surgery (on the right knee in 1998). He's the guy. I'll go see him and he can fix it.

WWF.com: It's safe to say this is your worst injury since having the knee surgery in 1998.

Triple H: Yeah and this is even a much more traumatic injury. My knee had been giving me problems over a long period of time. It kept dislocating my kneecap and it got to the point where I just had to have something done about it. At that point, it became a big deal. This is an instantaneous, traumatic injury. I went from being perfectly healthy yesterday to having to have surgery on Thursday.

WWF.com: Is this a complete fluke injury? You don't think this is your body telling you something?

Triple H: No. In my opinion it's just something that happens. We're in a very physical business. We're like thoroughbreds or Formula 1 racecars. We redline all the time. I work to the ultimate of my workload every night. I push my body hard to do the things it does. I've been in a position now where I've been in main event matches that have been very physically demanding for a long period of time. I've been lucky to that I've been able to do that and remain injury free. It's playing Russian roulette to a degree. Sooner or later, something happens. I don't see this as a sign or a warning or anything. I'm a young guy. I'm 31 years old. I'm not even near my peak in this business yet. This is not a big deal. It's a bump in the road. I'll be back in a few months and in the grand scheme of things this is not a big deal.

WWF.com: You really seem to be in good spirits.

Triple H: Yeah. I was pissed off obviously last night when it happened. I was very pissed off. But today I accept it. It's what happens. It's what I'm dealt with. I will go to Birmingham. Dr. Andrews will do this surgery and on Thursday when I wake up from surgery, my mindset at that point will be to put the intensity and the effort that I put into everything else that I do into rehab. I will train my ass off to be 100 percent as soon as I can and I will be back in the ring. This is just a bump in the road.

WWF.com: The prognosis is three to five months, correct?

Triple H: What I'm being told initially is that I will be out three to five months. Probably more towards the four in that area. Three would be a stretch.

WWF.com: Is there any bright side to this?

Triple H: In that way?

WWF.com: For example, you had the back problem. Is this an opportunity for your other injuries to heal?

Triple H: The sciatica problem was an injury that, once I got it under control, it healed up. That was just one of those things that I was just pushing myself so hard that once I took a week or two off- I don't even think I took two weeks off; I think I took a week off- I was like a new man. It was just one of those things where, once I get some rest, I haven't had any problems with it since. Does this give me time to heal the rest of my body? Damn straight. I'm going to come back better than ever. I've going to have three months to heal and three months to get into the best possible shape I can get in. It's an opportunity for the rest of my body to heal while I'm healing this injury.

WWF.com: And it's better that it happened in the summer than in the winter. I heard you joking that you just wanted to take the summer off.

Triple H: There is not good time for this to happen. But it happens. You can say, "Well it's better that it happened in the summer." Not really because I'm not going to see summer anyway. I'm going to be sitting inside of a rehab facility probably eight or nine hours a day. That's how I came back from my knee surgery so fast. I rehabbed from 9 in the morning until 6 at night every day. And that's what I'll do with this. I'll rehab with a Vengeance.

WWF.com: There's also the fact that you've had two fantastic matches in the past two days- even though you lost both of those matches. It's a good way to go out, so to speak.

Triple H: In this business it's not about winning or losing. No pun intended, it's about how you play the game. The matches I've had over the last couple of days have been a blast and they've been great matches. Yeah, it surely beats getting hurt in a match that sucked and going out on that. At least I go out on high notes. Again, I'm not depressed about this. I'm not down about this. It's a bump in the road. Do I wish it didn't happen? Sure. But I will go right through this.

WWF.com: Is there a chance that you will pop up on TV in a non-wrestling capacity?

Triple H: I do not know. I do not know.

WWF.com: But it's certainly not 100 percent that we've seen the last of Triple H for three to five months.

Triple H: Yeah. I doubt it. It's pretty tough for me with how I feel about this business to stay away. For me to not be on the show at all for three months or four months would pretty much be unacceptable. I got a funny feeling that you'll be seeing my face around.

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