UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez could be out of action until late 2014 following surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
MMA broadcaster Ariel Helwani passed along the news Wednesday on UFC Tonight. The show's Twitter account sent a confirmation soon after.
Ariel is reporting that @cainmma had surgery this week on his torn labrum. He'll likely be out until late 2014.— UFC Tonight (@UFCTonight) December 12, 2013
Earlier Wednesday, Velasquez posted a photo on his Instagram account after his surgery, with a caption stating, "My shoulder surgery went well. Can't wait to get back at it!"
According to information from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the labrum is a cuff of cartilage surrounding the ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder, providing stability to what is a very shallow joint compared with others. A tear in the labral tissue can destabilize the shoulder joint, making it more prone to additional injuries, including dislocation, as well as a loss of strength and range of motion.
The AAOS website states that patients who undergo surgical labrum repairs usually stay in a sling for three to four weeks. Though athletes can begin some exercises six weeks after the surgery, it typically takes three to four months for the shoulder to heal fully. It is possible that Velasquez will not be able to resume full training until after the shoulder has healed to 100 percent.
Previous reports indicated that Velasquez, 31, would not need surgery for the torn labrum.
Velasquez, now on his second stint as heavyweight champion, has defended the belt in his last two fights—first vs. Antonio Silva and then vs. Junior dos Santos, against whom it appears he suffered this latest injury.