With John Cena scheduled to be out for 16-24 weeks following triceps surgery, WWE faces an uncertain few months. He's the company's biggest star—by far—and has been such a crucial part of the product for so long, it's difficult to imagine things without him.
Indeed, the fact that ratings for Raw absolutely tanked when he took only a few weeks off last autumn for minor elbow surgery certainly doesn't bode well (via PWTorch).
However, despite these issues, Cena must resist the urge to rush back sooner than he should. WWE must also make it clear to the wrestler that he must take as long as it takes to rehabilitate himself.
First of all, Daniel Bryan needs to be given the time to shine in his new role. Per the storyline, Bryan is single-handedly taking on the McMahons, Randy Orton and The Shield. He is, essentially, being positioned to be the new top babyface.
Whether or not he can emulate Cena's success remains to be seen, but if he's to even have a chance he needs to flourish on his own, without Cena being around to upstage him.
But there's also Cena's health to consider.
Rushing back from injuries isn't anything new for the star—he shocked the world by coming back months early from a torn pectoral muscle to win the 2008 Royal Rumble—but this time he really does need to bide his time before returning. No matter how much he may think the company requires his presence.
For one thing, he's getting older. He turned 36 this year. How much longer can he keep bouncing back from his various ailments?
The grueling WWE road schedule doesn't help matters either. Truthfully, torn triceps or not, Cena probably did need a prolonged break from the company to rest up and relax.
Considering the physical problems the likes of Hulk Hogan and Mick Foley—both of whom worked heavy schedules and took big bumps in their primes—have had in recent years, Cena would be wise to stop pushing himself so much.
Besides, it's not like the star is going to be totally absent from WWE television.
Recent reports (via WrestleZone) indicate that his surgery and recuperation will be heavily featured on wrestling reality show "Total Divas." The company will still be able to benefit from Cena's star power even if he isn't a member of the active roster.
So, really, why should Cena rush back?
Why would WWE even want him to? It would be foolish and, ultimately, counter-productive in the long-term.
Note to Cena: Take a long break, man. You’ve earned it.