UFC welterweight star Georges St-Pierre suffered a torn left ACL while in training recently and will undergo surgery this week, the fighter announced on his Twitter feed Thursday:
Tore my left ACL in training. Surgery in a few days. Rehab, pain, hard work, no shortcuts- I'll soon be back at 100%. Thanks for the support— Georges St-Pierre (@GeorgesStPierre) March 27, 2014
It's unclear as to what St-Pierre refers to when he says "training." The longtime UFC Welterweight Champion vacated the title in December after a grueling split-decision victory over Johny Hendricks and was taking some needed time away from the sport.
While St-Pierre, 32, never officially retired, it was unknown whether he was planning an immediate return to the ring or simply training to stay in shape. Hendricks captured St-Pierre's vacated championship with a unanimous-decision win over Robbie Lawler at UFC 171 this month.
Working sporadically as a fight analyst and with the UFC making public appearances, St-Pierre hasn't sounded like someone itching for a comeback. He told Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports before UFC 171 that he was better off having given up the title, and his life without the competitive pressure has allowed him to decompress:
When I have a fight, it completely takes over my brain and all of my thoughts. From the day they told me, 'Georges, you're going to fight this guy, or you're going to fight that guy,' I didn't think of anything else. When I was awake, it was always in my head and in my mind. I would completely obsess about every detail of that fight. 'Am I doing this right? Do I need to do this? Should I do that?' It was crazy.
St-Pierre will be forced into an even longer break now—whether he was planning it or not. This is the second time the Canadian has torn an ACL in the last three years. In December 2011, St-Pierre blew out his right knee while training for a fight with Nick Diaz at UFC 143 and was forced to sit out until the following November while recovering.
He came back to the ring 11 months later, which falls in line with a typical ACL timetable. Depending on the sport and how rehabilitation goes, recovery from ACL tears usually last at least eight months.
More than recovery time, though, one has to wonder whether this setback will push St-Pierre into permanent retirement. It was obvious that the limelight and pressure was eating him away toward the end of last year, and the potential to take a full year off could make him realize he's better off riding off into the television sunset.
Then again, with athletes like St-Pierre, it's impossible to tell. His legendary competitive spirit may kick in one last time and force him into a rigorous rehabilitation program aimed at a comeback—simply to prove that he can do it. Bleacher Report's Jonathan Snowden is one of many who have pointed out how much the sport would benefit from his return:
Remember sitting with @GeorgesStPierre when they announced the 2nd BJ Penn fight and talking about the recurve bow. Smart. Sport misses him.— Jonathan Snowden (@mmaencyclopedia) March 27, 2014
Ultimately, time will tell the story. But now more than ever, it looks like the final shot UFC fans will get of St-Pierre in the ring is of him raising his hand after his controversial win over Hendricks.
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