CHAMPCAR/CART: Al Unser Released From Hospital

Unser Mending Quickly Resting comfortably, he starts therapy next week. Doctors expect a full recovery. Al Unser Jr. was released from Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis Wednesday, two days after surgery to repair his broken right ankle.

Unser Mending Quickly

Resting comfortably, he starts therapy next week. Doctors expect a full recovery.

Al Unser Jr. was released from Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis Wednesday, two days after surgery to repair his broken right ankle. He checked in to an Indianapolis hotel for five days of rest before beginning rehabilitation.

Expecting to be back in a racecar in four to six weeks -- possibly by Nazareth -- he cannot put any weight on his ankle for eight weeks and expects to be fully recovered in 12 weeks, with full mobility in his ankle.

His surgeon, noted orthopedist Dr. Terry Trammell, explained what Unser will be wearing when he gets back in the car. "We will need to build a carbon fiber brace for the ankle which will allow him to push the pedal." Since he will not be able to put any weight on his ankle, a lucky crewman -- or two -- will lift him into the car.

I'm doing better than the last time I was in this position," the Team Penske driver remarked, referring to breaking the same ankle in an accident at Road America in 1985. "I spent a couple more days in the hospital then. It's the same leg and the same ankle, and it's broken the same way. This time, my foot got compressed and blew out both knobs on either side of my ankle. The inner knob is put back together with a couple of screws. The outer knob is put back together with a couple of screws and a plate."

Unser said he hopes to race at Nazareth on the first weekend in May. "I cannot put any pressure on my leg for 12 weeks. So I'll be hobbling to my car, just like I did before [in 1985]. I think we'll have to hire a special guy to carry me to my car."

He expects to be completely recovered by late June. "In three months time, without unforeseen problems, I'll be walking and I'll be back to 100 percent."

He talked about the accident, which occurred in the first lap of Sunday's Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami. "What happened was I was trying to go around the outside of Hattori and he lost the back end. Right then, I stood on the gas to try to clear him, and right when I did, he overcorrected, and it shot his front end in front of me. Had I not been there, he probably would have hit head on. I think I turned him back straight

"It was a hell of a hit," he continued. "I remember the whole thing. Then it was a really big hit when I hit the wall. I think what caused most of the damage was his car was on my front end already. My car was supporting his car too, so when we went into the wall I got sandwiched and there was double the amount of mass as we went into the wall."

In related news, Team Penske ran F3000 driver Gonzalo Rodriguez Wednesday in a 220-mile test at Sebring. Jason Leffler is still scheduled to have his test at Nazareth next week. The speculation is Rodriguez will be Unser's replacement at Motegi.

Source: CART Online

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jason Leffler , Al Unser Jr. , Al Unser , Gonzalo Rodriguez
Teams Team Penske