Having recently had surgery to repair the damage from a broken forearm he suffered in practice for the Phoenix Supercross, James Stewart is now at the beginning of a crucial recovery period. The decisions he makes in the next month could shape his future, certainly for this season, and maybe for the rest of his career.
Let me explain what I mean by this: in the past, we have seen many racers rush to come back from a relatively minor injury, only to crash again and re-injure themselves.
A racer who is eager to return to competition will tend to push himself to recover as quickly as possible. When the doctor recommends six weeks off the bike, the racer is already thinking “four” in his mind. It may indeed be possible for many racers to come back this quickly. At the top level of American motocross/supercross racing, however, the story is quite different.
You may have read reports that many of the top riders were quite upset about being unable to practice in the week before Anaheim One, due to heavy rains in Southern California. Even though they had probably been training and practicing almost non-stop for several months, they knew that even a week off the bike could throw off their rhythm and make it difficult to compete at the SX opener.
If a week off the bike can throw a rider off, imagine what three weeks can do? Returning to racing with perhaps only a day or two of practice after three weeks with no riding, a rider with the talent level of James Stewart may be able to run his usual pace – however, he will certainly be pushing harder, reaching farther outside his comfort zone, to do so. This is the time when another crash can easily happen.
We have heard that the surgeons repaired James’ forearm using a plate, rather than simply setting and casting the bone. Usually (though not always), this method is used when a quicker recovery time is desired.
Whatever supercross James decides to make his return at, we hope that he will allow his body adequate time to fully recover from his broken forearm. We also hope that he gives himself some time to work back up to race pace, rather than trying to run a Carmichael/Reed pace in the first practice. Unlike many other young racers, James seems to have made mostly smart, responsible decisions throughout his impressive career. We hope he continues that trend.