With TLC now less than two weeks away, the WWE needs its top champion, CM Punk, in fighting-fit condition. According to WWE.com, however, Punk is currently undergoing emergency knee surgery after consulting with Dr. James Andrews.
The extent of the injury and how it was suffered hasn't yet been released, but WWE.com is blaming the injury on Ryback putting Punk through a table last night on Raw. Punk reportedly took a late-night flight to Pensacola, Fla., to confer with Andrews.
UPDATE: Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 4 p.m. ET by Mike Chiari
WWE.com has updated its previous report with regards to Punk's emergency knee surgery and is now reporting that Andrews has completed a scope of Punk's knee to repair torn cartilage.
There still has been no recovery timetable released, but the fact that Punk underwent a fairly routine, minimally-invasive surgery should bode well for his prospects of competing at Royal Rumble at the very least. With that said, the recovery time varies and it's possible that the WWE could be without Punk at TLC.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, it could take between one and two months to return to an active lifestyle following arthroscopic knee surgery, and Punk would obviously fall under that category. That makes it seem unlikely that he'll be ready for TLC, but Royal Rumble is very much in the discussion.
With that said, Punk can't yet be ruled out for TLC either.
More should come to light over the next few days, but the best course of action will likely be for Punk to rest until TLC and then reevaluate from there.
-END OF UPDATE-
Even though I tend to believe that there is validity to Punk's injury and surgery, the explanation of Ryback being the cause of the injury is quite possibly being done from a storyline perspective. Punk had his knee wrapped a couple weeks ago, so the issue has likely been present for a while.
Today is a special day for Punk, as it is the 380th day of his title reign, tying him with John Cena for the longest WWE Championship run in the modern era.
Whether this injury and ensuing surgery will put Punk's reign in jeopardy is unknown, but it's certainly an ironic time for it to happen.
Cena's 380-day reign came to an end due to a legitimate torn pectoral muscle, which prompted him to vacate the title. It's difficult to say whether or not Punk's injury is the real deal or if it is serious in nature, but this news has to be disconcerting for fans of the Straight Edge Savior.
Although I don't want to speculate on the nature of the surgery, it could just be a procedure meant to clean up cartilage fragments. That type of injury is common among wrestlers due to their demanding schedule, and correcting it would likely require arthroscopic knee surgery.
The recovery timetable generally varies for something like that, but it certainly wouldn't disqualify Punk from facing Ryback at TLC.
If it is anything more serious than that, however, the WWE will either have to go without a WWE Championship match at TLC or call an audible on the fly, which would put the company in a very tough spot. Also, the Punk is likely to face The Rock at Royal Rumble, so a long-term injury could cause major changes in that regard as well.