Thumbs up for Jose Rivera after surgery

13.09.04 – Exactly one year to the day he captured the WBA welterweight title via a 12-round decision against previously unbeaten Michel Trabant in Berlin, “El Gallo” Jose Antonio Rivera today underwent successful surgery to repair the tendon in his right thumb, recently injured during a sparring session in preparation for his now cancelled October 2 title defense against Thomas Damgaard in New York City.

“I’m feeling good and the doctors are confident that everything looks good,” Rivera said upon his release from St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Brighton (MA) “I can’t wait to get back in the ring.”

Rivera’s surgeon, Dr. Bill Morgan, team physician for the Boston Red Sox, reported that the operation he performed to Jose’s thumb was a complete success. “Upon opening of the right hand,” he explained, “I found that Jose had indeed ruptured his extensor pollicis longus tendon of the right thumb and I simply reattached the tendon to the joint. The thumb joint in Jose’s hand looks pristine and the champ shows no signs whatsoever of arthritis, which is unusual in an athlete who uses his hands as much as a professional boxer.

“This is a very small injury in which I prescribe the following medical treatment plan: One month in cast to immobilize the thumb and tendon (during this time he can train aerobically to stay in shape; one month rehabilitation to strengthen and exercise the muscles and tendon during which time he can step-up his training.

“Based on my experience with Mr. Rivera as a patient, I know he has a rapid recovery period and therefore I expect him to be able to fight in approximately two months to the day of surgery.”

Steve “Tank” Tankanow, Rivera’s longtime manager, spoke to Dr. Morgan immediately after Jose’s surgery. “Jose and I cannot express enough our gratitude to Dr. Morgan,” Tank added, “who is one of the top hand surgeons in the country. Many professional athletes seek out and put their trust in Dr. Morgan to extend their careers. Even though we were devastated last week by the injury, for some special reason, Dr. Morgan made himself available to us. Team Rivera wants to thank all of Jose’s fans for their continued support.”

Fans may send their get-well wishes to Jose by going to his web site – -- and clicking on ‘Contact Us.’

Article posted on 13.09.2004

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