After sustaining an injury to his left knee during his Round of 16 heat at the Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro presented by Corona, two-time World Champion John John Florence has undergone a successful surgery to repair the damage.
Florence's injury, thankfully to many, is not to the same knee that plagued him during the 2019 season.
It was then, with a torn ACL and his shot at a third World Title dashed, he underwent surgery to his right knee and began the long, painful process of regaining his championship form, and ultimately, qualifying for the inaugural U.S. Olympic Surf Team as outlined in his film Tokyo Rising.
"I woke up to the report from the surgeon that everything went as well as possible, and the procedure I had will give me the opportunity to surf at full strength sooner than I had hoped," Florence wrote on Instagram.
"Feeling motivated to really know that the Olympics are attainable. I'm excited for this and I'm gonna do everything I can to make it happen!"
With the Tokyo Olympics just two and a half months away, the United States Surfing team finds itself with a couple of big injury questions. Florence appears optimistic about his ability to return in time. Meanwhile, Kolohe Andino continues the recovery process after a high ankle sprain forced him to withdraw from the Australian leg of the Championship Tour. He underwent surgery to repair the injury in April.
"Healing quick, should be hipity hopin' soon," Andino recently shared on Instagram.
USA Surfing's medical director Kevyn Dean has been working closely with the WSL medical director Dr. Warren Kramer and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Eric Hohn to better understand the relationship between elite surfers and knee and ankle injury issues.
Their research has found that knee and ankle injuries are the most common among the world's best surfers. Knee injuries comprise 29-percent of all injuries, while ankle injuries are at 22-percent. That's more than all other injuries combined, including shoulder, hip and back injuries, which are also common ailments.
"Surfers driving off their dominant back leg place undo stress upon the MCL by forcing their knee sideways down to the board," reports Dean, Kramer and Hohn.
"71-percent of the ankle injuries in this study were sprains and 52-percent involved the syndesmosis (a high ankle sprain). This type of injury occurs when the top of the foot is driven up forcefully toward the tibia or when the foot is twisted side ways under the ankle. This often occurs when landing hard during an air or floater," they continue.
The opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics is Friday, July 23, 2021. Florence and Andino both anticipate they'll be ready to go in time, but the team at USA Surfing is also preparing for scenarios in which they are not ready. What that looks like has not been announced.