Moving down the road to recovery
If there’s one thing you can say about Triple H, it’s that he goes all-out in everything he does. It’s been less than three weeks since The Game underwent successful quadriceps surgery, and already, he’s speeding down the road to recovery.
In the days between the injury and the surgery, Triple H was reported to be in good spirits. Some may have found that hard to believe, as he was staring down major surgery that would keep him away from something he loves for quite a while. However, I spoke to him at length in between rehab sessions, and his mental state was more positive than you could imagine.
“My rehab is going great so far, I’m actually about a month ahead of schedule,” The Game revealed. “I’m on crutches and have a brace that keeps my leg locked out, but my range is already up to where it should be about a month from now, and my quad is starting to fire a little bit. I’m starting to see some changes and my swelling is down; it’s a good start and I’m feeling really good.”
It didn’t even take 24 hours for The Game to begin his post-surgery routine, which is in its infant stages.
“My rehab actually began that Wednesday morning (the day following surgery),” he recalled. “I started from day one going twice a day. Basically at this point it’s about keeping the swelling down as much as possible and trying to get my quad to work again. I’m trying to re-learn how to make my muscle fire, to flex and lift my leg, which I can’t really do. There’s a little bit of ranging, but not too much because my range of motion came back pretty quickly and any more might cause stress on the sutures.”
Triple H has had this unfortunate experience before, having torn his other quadriceps in 2001. Luckily for The Game, this injury was easier to fix, which hopefully means less time away from the ring.
“The difference between then and now is that in 2001, I tore tendon from tendon and my quad tendon basically exploded; this time, I just tore the tendon off the bone,” he explained. “This was a much easier repair, so I had much less trauma to my knee joint and quad itself, which is a little quicker healing process. When it happened, I was thinking ‘okay, same as last time’ in my head; but at this point last time, I wasn’t even out of a wheelchair yet. Hopefully, things will heal quicker and my progress will be faster.”
Even though he’s ahead of schedule, The Game still has quite a road ahead.
“I’ll be on crutches for another three weeks minimum; I go back to see Dr. Andrews then, and I’m hoping he’ll evaluate me and let me go down to just one crutch,” he said. “It’s a pain in the ass walking with crutches,” he added with a laugh, proving that his sense of humor hasn’t been affected at all.
While he will hopefully heal quicker, The Cerebral Assassin isn’t going to push himself too far too fast.
“One of the things Dr. Andrews talked to me about is that my difficulty will be staying off it,” The Game admitted. “He said ‘in a few weeks you might feel like you can start walking without crutches, but don’t.’ I could put myself in a position to cause more harm even though I won’t know I’m doing it.”
While it may be a frustrating piece of advice to adhere to, The Game would much rather be safe then sorry.
“It’s fixed, so now I want to be able to go full tilt and make it better, but they’re already pulling reigns back on me and telling me to slow down,” he said. “Last time, I know how I felt when I was able to walk. I feel like that now, like I want to go out and do things, but I can’t; I have to sit home with my leg iced and elevated,” he laughed.
When the injury occurred, The Game’s initial prognosis was four to six months of rehab. That is still fairly accurate according to Triple H, but as mentioned earlier, he’s not going to push it.
“Dr. Andrews told me I’d be closer to six; four to six is standard, but it’s not like I have a standard job. If I was delivering mail, maybe four months would work,” he laughed. “I’ve been through this before and I know where I need to be. If it takes me four months, great; but if I need six months, eight months, whatever, I’ll take that time. I’m not going to come back before I’m ready and take the chance of re-tearing it. In rehab, you don’t know where you’re going to be until you start getting there.”
Believe it or not, The Game is at an age where athletes in many other sports are considering retirement. However, even with an injury as severe as a torn quad, Triple H has no intention of doing anything but getting back in the ring as soon as he can.
“You certainly don’t want this to happen at any point in your career. Vince McMahon came back from tearing both of his quads, and I’m a young man compared to him. I’m realistic with my career; I’m 37, but I don’t feel like my body is in a state where I should start to think this is it. It’s another injury, I’ll overcome it.”
Triple H admitted that having his previous experience to compare this with has helped his thinking.
“My other quad, once it was back healthy it was better than ever; two weeks before this injury I squatted 495 pounds for six reps,” he revealed. “My other quad is strong and healthy, I see no reason why this won’t be the same way. It’s just an obstacle to overcome.”
Amazingly, the injury itself doesn’t faze The Game at all; it’s the surrounding circumstances that have him most frustrated.
“The thing that bothers me is losing independence. I’m used to being on the road all the time; when you’re in WWE you’re always on the move. It’s life in the fast lane,” he said. “Now, I’ve gone from life in the fast lane to sitting in the pits bored out of my skull. I can’t get in the car and drive somewhere, because I can’t bend my leg. It’s a lot of stuff you don’t think about, and you take it for granted until you lose it.”
In 2002, Triple H returned from his first quad injury at the Royal Rumble and won the Royal Rumble Match. He would have been an odds-on favorite in this year’s Rumble, but revealed that he’s more upset about missing another coming event.
“Yeah, I don’t think I’m gonna make this year’s (Royal Rumble),” he joked. “It sucks, obviously. There’s never a good time to get injured; I can’t say ‘oh, I wish I had waited until after WrestleMania’ or anything,” he added with another laugh.
Joking aside, his answer took a more serious tone at this point.
“I look at WrestleMania, and see we’re about 10 weeks out from going to Detroit and being in Ford Field with 80,000 people. I haven’t missed a WrestleMania since I’ve been here, and that’s the bitter pill to swallow. But it is what it is; what I’m looking at now is hoping to come back around SummerSlam and go on from there. I’ll be at WrestleMania next year, so that’s okay.”
Until then, Shawn Michaels will be carrying the torch for DX. Since The Game’s injury, HBK has seemingly been more emotional and energetic, something his partner is very proud of.
“He’s been unbelievable; he’s on fire, and to me he’s the best in the business right now,” The Game revealed. “We would’ve liked to finish this thing with Rated-RKO, but when I talked to him on the phone before the Handicap Match I told him to finish it. I think he’s done that the last couple weeks. He’s feeling better than ever, so if I was a betting man I’d put my money on HBK in the Rumble. When I look at the Royal Rumble, I look at momentum, and no one has more going in than he does.”
And of course, he had something to say to arch-rivals Rated-RKO as well.
“Edge & Orton came out on Raw the next night bragging about taking my leg out; I want to make it clear that they didn’t injure my leg; what happened is I shoved my foot so far up their asses that when I tried to take it out I hurt myself,” he laughed.
Triple H certainly hasn’t lost a step in the humor department, and once he’s physically 100 percent, The Game will be back better than ever. And if you’re not down with that, I’m sure he’ll have two words for you.