WWE.com interview (12/17/02)
Triple H out 2-3 weeks, and that’s good news
by Phil Speer

TAMPA, Fla. – Dec. 17, 2002 – Various injuries to Triple H’s right thigh will keep the Game out of the ring for two to three weeks. But Triple H was extremely relieved to get that prognosis today, as he feared the injury could have been a lot more serious.

The new World Heavyweight Champion was diagnosed Monday with a partially torn right quadriceps muscle, which would not necessarily require surgery. It was suspected that the injury occurred during his best-of-three-falls match with Shawn Michaels at Sunday’s Armageddon.

Triple H came to the SmackDown! taping here today – he often attends television events even when he’s not booked – but flew in the early afternoon to Birmingham, Ala., to see Dr. James Andrews, the surgeon who operated on the Game when he tore his left quadriceps in May 2001.

“I’m thinking about getting a house there, I’m there so much,” Triple H said with a slight smirk, referring to Birmingham.

Andrews is widely considered to be the top surgeon of his kind in the country. Even though other doctors had told Triple H it was a partial tear of the right quad, he was nervous that a more through examination by Andrews would reveal a complete tear, or something else that needed to be surgically repaired and thus keep him out of action for months.

After his appointment with Andrews, the Game immediately flew back here for the SmackDown! taping. When he arrived, at about 8:15 p.m., he was grinning from ear to ear. Andrews determined that the partial tear of the right quad was an old injury. The Game also has a massive hematoma – a solid ball of coagulated blood – in the outside of his right quad, and swelling throughout the muscle. But he will merely need to rest and rehabilitate – and not wrestle – for two to three weeks.

After missing eight months in 2001 for a completely torn left quad, it’s safe to say that the Game was relieved that he’d only be out a few weeks.

Triple H said that the problems with his right quad started last Monday on RAW, during his match with Jeff Hardy.

“I just hit my leg,” he said. “I had a Charley horse, nothing major. It’s something you get all the time. It was right in the front of my thigh. It wasn’t bad at all. I just didn’t train my legs for a week; I figured I’d give it a little bit of rest. But it wasn’t bad. I didn’t even think twice about it.”

The Game wrestled Friday at a non-televised event in Norfolk, Va., and Saturday in Ft. Myers, Fla., and said his leg felt fine during both matches. It started stiffening after his match on Saturday.

“I got done (with the match) and it was a little bit tighter,” he said. “I must have whacked it at some point during the match. By the time I drove two hours from Ft. Myers to Ft. Lauderdale (the site of Armageddon), I could barely get out of the car. My leg was completely locked up. It felt like I had a softball under the muscle.”

He said he could barely move the leg, and that it was even tighter on Sunday morning. He spent virtually the entire day on Sunday, before his match, in the trainers’ room, getting heat, ice, ultrasound, electronic stimulation and massage on the muscle. “Nothing worked,” he said.

Finally, a doctor gave him an anti-inflammatory to help with the swelling and pain, and the Game heavily taped his leg – which was visible during the match.

“The doctor said, ‘Be very careful. This thing is so tight that if you force it into a stretch, you could tear it completely,’” Triple H said. “But I went 45 minutes, two-out-of-three (falls) with Shawn. That’s what I had to do, so I did it.

“I’ve not seen the match yet. I guess it came out alright. But I didn’t feel like I was able to give it my best. I was in a lot of pain. I could barely move it. I could hardly run. I couldn’t jump.”

Obviously, he was in more pain after the match. On Monday morning, he went to an Orlando hospital for an MRI, which revealed the partial tear. Doctors there assumed it was caused during the match. But Andrews, who had the Game’s medical records on hand, said the tear happened sometime in the past.

So while the Game wasn’t able to jump during his match Sunday, he was practically jumping for joy today, knowing he’d only have to miss a few weeks of in-ring time.

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